by Travis Mateer
While AMAZING municipal leaders, like Gwen Jones, will still be imposing their vision on this humble valley, a few of our Council Critters will NOT be around in 2022 because their time is up.
Gomer Kidston recently acknowledged this impending change with a FOND FAREWELL article that I wanted to take a look at before the year is up.
First on the departure list, Bryan Von Rocket Scientist.
Von Lossberg, who served as council president, ended several terms to tend to family matters. During his tenure, he never cowered in the face of opposition and he tackled many controversial issues, from banning wild and exotic animal acts in the traveling circus, to playing a leading role in the city’s push to acquire its drinking water system.
He also sponsored a city ordinance requiring background checks for most gun sales and transfers between private parties. The measure passed locally but was challenged by Republican leaders in Helena and was eventually overturned in new state legislation.
Did you know Von Lossberg was a fucking rocket scientist? Yeah, he definitely was, but somehow all that intelligence didn’t anticipate the massive ass-kicking his little gun stunt would illicit from the state.
I, however, DID anticipate the fallout when I wrote about Missoula further isolating itself with this idiotic ordinance, because you don’t have to be a fucking rocket scientist to see the imminent failure of this Von Lossberg virtue signal.
Next up for departure attention is the WGM water specialist, Julie Merritt. Here’s the bullshit our DECEIVER IN CHIEF, Mayor Engen, heaped on this walking conflict-of-interest:
Ward 6 representative Julie Merritt also is stepping aside after earning the praise and respect of her colleagues. As a water-right’s expert, she played a key role in Missoula’s purchase of the Flynn Lowney Ditch, which Engen said will have far-reaching benefits.
He also praised her for her “tenacity and compassion” in a representing a neighborhood that has seen significant change in recent years.
“That is a balancing act and it requires a long view and sometimes in the face of very challenging testimony,” Engen told her. “You take thoughtful, principled positions and do so with grace and dignity.”
One of MY favorite moments from Merritt came when she got busted plotting to punish a local business woman for wrong-think on a local Facebook group for Missoula Rises. Here’s Merritt being a gutless coward trying to justify her little power play:
We asked Merritt to tell us her side of the story. She won’t go on camera but wrote us in an email that sharing the screen grabs violated the spirit of the Missoula Rises group. Then she writes she’s found out it doesn’t matter what an owner of employee says about the city, its staff or elected officials, the contract goes to the “responsive low bidder.”
She ends her email by writing it’s free speech and people, including her, can say what they want.
What a nasty little creature. I’m VERY HAPPY this little fascist is working solely in the private sector now.
The other departing Council members are Heather Harp and Jesse Ramos, two reasonable people who found an ability to talk to each other despite the contentious nature of the 2019 uprising against Tax Increment Financing abuses.
For Heather, I think she learned some important lessons about leadership in Missoula. Specifically I think she learned how petty and vindictive these fuckers are, something I wrote about in October after Harp’s organization, Habitat for Humanity, got strangely denied funding from the affordable housing trust fund.
My favorite part of the FAREWELL article is the way Engen discusses the departure of Jesse Ramos.
“You have been a combination of an enormous pain in my derriere as well as someone who has challenged me to think about how we do business,” Engen told him. “You’ve had statesmen-like moments, you have surprised me, and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunches and interesting arguments, and your sense of humor.”
Don’t worry, Mayor Engen. While Jesse Ramos may not be on City Council anymore to provide those painful jolts to your assumed dictatorship, I’m going to make sure Ramos’ perspective is documented for posterity.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for good things to come.