Gomer Kidston Quick Hits

by Travis Mateer

I have a growing inventory of Gomer Kidston “news” articles I’ve been wanting to comment on piling up in my brain, so I’m just going to purge them here, in quick-hit fashion, to get them out of my system.

The first one is a Gomer classic, pumping up Tax Increment Financing and the budget of the MRA while ALSO helping put down a little insurrection against GREAT LEADER. The fun begins with the title: Citing public good, Missoula City Council adopts MRA’s budget. From the link:

The Missoula City Council’s lingering conservative wing and its inaugural member of the Democratic socialists tried but failed Monday night to block the adoption of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, despite the impacts doing so could have on the city’s general fund heading in 2022.

On an 8-3 vote, the Missoula City Council adopted a resolution regardless amending MRA’s budget, which includes final calculations based upon new taxable values from the state, its impacts on mill levies, anticipated grants and bond proceeds.

I bolded the REGARDLESS because I love how Gomer just slips it in so casually, without the kind of comma one might expect. And we haven’t even gotten to the inaugural socialist’s actual name! A reader of Gomer has to wait until paragraph 4 to learn that piece of info.

The vote is an annual occurrence, though the council’s new socialist member and what remains of its conservative block sided against it. The two political camps have aligned in recent weeks in opposition to a number of measures, but none have met success.

Daniel Carlino, who narrowly won election representing Ward 3 over Dori Gilels – now a member of the Consolidated Planning Board – suggested tax increment was used to build the $25 million AC Hotel in downtown Missoula.

The project brought dozens of new jobs to the city and, like the Mercantile next door, created the opportunity for business expansion and relocation. It was supported by downtown advocates and was envisioned in both the old and most recent Downtown Master Plan, which were supported by the larger public.

Still, while the project occurred years ago, Carlino voiced opposition.

I am VERY encouraged to read (though would like to independently verify) that the two political camps are finding some common ground on the TIF abuses. Gomer is not known for his accuracy, more like loyalty.

Moving on, the next article is one I almost didn’t read, but I’m glad I did, because I found a tidbit about the controversial Maclay Bridge, something I’ve written about extensively, considering it impacts the safety of my family.

Here’s the relevant part from the article titled From Missoula to Salmon Lake, MDT details busy summer:

From repairs to the Beartracks Bridge in downtown Missoula to the reconstruction of narrow highway skirting Salmon Lake, the Montana Department of Transportation has a busy season ahead in the Missoula District.

The work will also include infrastructure changes to a dangerous stretch of Highway 93 south of Lolo, and Missoula County will make a final decision on the future of Maclay Bridge.

“We’ve got to make a decision to continue with the Section 106 process,” county public works director Shane Stack told commissioners on Monday. “We need some form of formal decision to determine if we want to move forward with Section 106.”

My first reaction upon reading this was HUH? Then I got into Gomer’s bullshit framing of this decades-old controversy, and I really got annoyed.

Section 106 requires that a review of a transportation project include consideration of historic preservation and public input.

The bridge spanning the Bitterroot River in the Missoula Valley has been a contentious issue for years, with some wanting the one-lane structure preserved and left in place. Others want a modern bridge that can handle today’s transportation requirements.

The county is expected to make a formal decision later this month, possibly on Feb. 24.

Nothing in how Gomer reports on this hints at what EVERY STUDY is pointing to: a new bridge up stream, at South street. Is that because Commissioner Dave’s pals live up there and are still in denial of that reality?

Moving on, here’s a fun municipal tantrum from Dinosaur, Jim Nugent, and GREAT LEADER himself!

Citing a long list of bills that preempted ordinances adopted by self-governing cities, Missoula City Attorney Jim Nugent last week issued a legal opinion intended to “inform and provide” local elected officials clear insight into what many are now describing as the long arm of the Montana Legislature.

“There currently is a trend evolving pursuant to which state legislatures throughout the United States are more frequently and with more breadth, topic wise, preempting local government authority and power of local governments with respect to local community issues,” Nugent wrote in legal opinion released on Friday.

Nugent’s concerns follow that of Missoula Mayor John Engen, some members of the City Council and all three Missoula County commissioners in voicing frustration with recent legislative activity and its heavy-handed push to curtail rules and regulations adopted at the local level.

Mentioned is the gun control ordinance I have been writing about for years, like this post, titled I Warned Missoula Would Provoke State Legislature Retaliation Five Years Ago And Guess What? I was Right.

Six years ago now and I am STILL RIGHT. And these whiners are still throwing fits because there are bigger fiefdoms with the power GREAT LEADER wants all for himself.

Moving on, and to conclude, we might not be able to give GREAT LEADER the gun ordinance he so desires, but the ever-visionary Donna Gaukler is ready to give him something big and VERY expensive.

The aquatics center opened in 2006 and was funded through a combination of general obligation bonds and tax increment financing. The proposed community center carries an estimated cost of around $44 million, a number Gaukler said included today’s inflationary costs.

“We’re going into this eyes wide open,” Gaukler said. “It does consider the incredible inflation we’ve been through this year. I would hope and expect these numbers would be lower two years from now.”

These people, man. I mean wow. I think I’ve had enough.

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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16 Responses to Gomer Kidston Quick Hits

  1. TC says:

    Wow! What a great post! So much to unpack.
    First, Gomer. Such a hackey shill for the Missoula “Elite”. Just a reminder they were all Missoulian (if the NYT is the old gray lady; we are what the 70’ new rainbow lady?). They were all members of the 90s “New Party” (basically the Tea Party but w/kumbaya). Those two details suggest that Gomer and his ilk (like the Clintons) could change the world. And boy did they!
    Per our fossilized City Attorney. He has been in employee by City tax payers for 1/2 a century!(Engen has a ways to go apparently). Few fun facts: He never figured out tech – it was very often (maybe still is) that he would hit “respond all” to personal texts. He hasnt won a case in decades – go look up just how much his “expert” opinions have cost the City taxpayers in judgements (South Ave alone was over a million). He is no longer allowed within a mile of a courtroom if there is an important case (water company). Better to spend other millions for a chance to win. But he does keep the “Elite” out of jail (and w/ Gomer out of the press). And that is priceless!
    Finally Mz Gaukler. Maybe Missoula’s first hire/promotion due to underrepresentation. She has become a way star locally that has led to rainbow crossings, JEDI training and a soon to be Trans state rep. But make no mistake – she is of the same Missoulian/NewParty/“Elite” sort. It was just a few years ago that she tried to foist her Current project upon us in a different manner. She wanted Missoula tax payers to give millions to build the private Missoula International School then pay millions annually to run “needed” City programs (like hip hop dancing and hula hooping) out of there. That got shot down as it was TOO blatant. Now its just been moved from 3rd St to McCormick Park. Unfortunately, her “private” friends wont get quite as rich off of public dollars. Dont worry though – we can always make good for the Checotas and the Montgomery’s. And Donna will get her legacy project – brass plaque and all (for the low cost of $60 mil up front and $2 mil loss a year forever).
    God – I love this town! Netflix should set their next serial like Ozarks right here!!!

    • I’ve been thinking about the Ozarks a lot lately. Thanks for the perspective, TC, it is ALWAYS appreciated!

    • Pete Talbot says:

      I was active in the New Party in the 90s and its chairman in 1993-94. Not a single person named in the post was a member, participated in any way or ever attended a New Party meeting. Kidston didn’t even live in Missoula in those days. As a matter of fact – although facts aren’t your strong suit, TC – the New Party was a thorn in the side of a few the folks mentioned above. Your quote that the New Party is “basically the Tea Party but w/kumbaya,” has to be one of the most moronic analogies ever posted at this site, and that’s saying a lot. Yours is one of the most spurious comments I’ve read in quite some time and again, that’s saying a lot.

      • Another fantastic contribution from my free fact checker service. Do you write this off as a donation for tax purposes, Pete?

        • Pete Talbot says:

          If a fact-checking service was able to write off the expenses involved in correcting the fiction in these posts and comments, it wouldn’t have to pay a nickel in taxes in perpetuity.

        • Remind me again what your lawyer told you when you asked about suing local bloggers to shut them up?

        • Pete Talbot says:

          That’s a considerable non sequitur, Travis, but I imagine it’s the same legal advise you received when you thought about suing a commenter who questioned your sanity: we’re both basically public figures since we publish publicly accessible political blogs. As such, malice aforethought must be proven, which is difficult to do and it sets the bar much higher for proving libelous intent. Your point?

    • JC says:

      TC, I’m going to take exception to one of your comments, “basically the Tea Party but w/kumbaya”.

      One of those New Party members, and City Councillor 20+ years ago was my girlfriend when we came to Missoula in the 80s. She was anything but “Tea Party”, and when she sang Kumbaya, it was with great reverence and empathy. She was anything but an “Elite” having come from modest roots in an Eastern European family, and living frugally in Missoula. And she strived to become a good journalist in a dying industry, often writing about people struggling in a society that had cast them off.

      I normally would keep my mouth shut to ill-informed comments like this, but this person offered me compassion (in the form of inexpensive housing) almost 20 years ago. This was years after we had split, when I needed assistance getting back on my feet, having been homeless for 6 months recovering from my own personal demons.

      Tragically she passed away, far too young, several years ago from cancer, leaving behind two wonderful boys to grow up without a mother. And I’ll never forget the moment “Kumbaya” sprung out among the hundred-or-so people attending her memorial service in St. Xavier Francis’ church, which had become a sanctuary for her. It was beautiful.

      So TC, do your thing and be critical of policy and politics all you want, but please be civil and don’t speak ill of the dead. It renders any possible contribution you have to the debate moot. At least she had a dream that the New Party could transcend typical Dem/Rep boundaries, and tried to carry that out. Unfortunately that dream was crushed when the rise of a third party challenging the power structures of modern politics was stifled in legal challenges far from Missoula.

  2. webdoodle says:


    I used to cut and stack hay for Dale’s Dairy when I was a teenager. Around 4pm, on a hot summer day, the hay crew and I would drive down to McClay’s bridge and jump off into the cooling waters below. We didn’t start the fad, it was something that ranch hands had been doing on that bridge since it was built, we were just the one’s carrying on the tradition. Fast forward 30 years, and now you can’t park for several blocks around McClay’s bridge because of all the “No Parking” sign’s that have been erected.

    Several other river recreation areas have also suffered the same fate. Local home owners had banded together to lock the rest of us out of our rivers. If the home owners had been California rock star transplants, would it have been allowed to happen? Or would people have banded together to retain their river access rights like they did in Mitchel Slough down the Bitterroot?

  3. Weird, it’s like I’m learning MORE about things because of MORE dialogue. I’m interested in the past and how we got here, and I’m ALSO interested in not pussyfooting around our current dumpster fire.

    Thank you all.

  4. TC says:

    JC – first of all fuck Talbot (he makes Gomer seem “fair and balanced”). Seems, through my lack of written connection, that I lost my audience.
    Per Ol’ Petey, … yep I know the Gomer was not here and Jolly John was not a member. I was trying to point out a mindset. And Ol’ Petey, being the leader the you pretend yourself, Id like to know where you, Engen, Gomer, Buchanan, Jones, Gaukler, Merriam, et al differ. Just give us one example – sure Travis will let you post here. If you cant/wont it suggests that you are one and the same despite titles.
    JC sorry got distracted by that … Mr Talbot. I never meant to give offense. I said Tea Party w/Kumbaya because it resonated. I meant to suggest ardor. The New Party had intent and a sense of revolutionary zeal (much like the Tea Party). They thought they could unlock the Pandora’s box of politics thru a new way of thinking. But they, unlike the Tea Party’s Aggro, wanted to do it with Kumbaya. I shouldnt have to explain this to anyone that was there. And despite Pete the New Party became the Clinton’s Third Way – just look where Petey went. If you cant see that you werent there.
    All that said, im deeply sorry for offending YOU (and only you and yours). I try to speak truth to power and give perspective to past Missoula history. At times innocents get caught in the net – this was such a time. JC, Ill keep being me but Im so sorry that I did wrong by you. Ill do better

    • Pete Talbot says:

      Not sure what I’ve done to warrant TC’s ire but here’s some relevant information (“If you cant see that you werent there [sic]” says TC). Well, I was there. After the main rallying point of the New Party – fusion voting – was struck down by the Supreme Court, 6-3, in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, much of the New Party evolved into the Working Families Party which is hardly “Clinton’s Third Way.” Unfortunately, New York state is one of the few states that allows fusion voting, which is why the Working Families Party focuses its efforts there. By the way, the Tea Party never advanced fusion voting or attempted to become a third party. It didn’t need to as it finally got what it wanted in Donald Trump. One quick suggestion for TC, though: take a look at your copy before hitting the “Post” button. You might find it will make your comments somewhat readable and understandable.

      • I don’t know, Pete, I’m sure it has nothing to do with you and your family’s role in controlling local narratives. Is Missoulian publisher Jim Strauss aware that putting a picture of you handling votes in the paper raises the eyebrows of those of us who know your dad was CIA before his work with the Missoulian?

  5. webdoodle says:

    Wow, the balls on these people. They subjugated our minds with Operation Mockingbird, got caught but don’t spend a minute in jail or even get fined. In the end they still manage to control the media because they quit the CIA and went private like George Talbot going to the Missoulian. For nearly 60 years, the CIA via Allen and Co, pulled a big curtain over the wizard, but instead of being a benevolent magician, he’s just another lapdog of the parasitic rich. Note I didn’t use ‘elite’, because the only thing they are elite at is lying and stealing, just like a parasite.

    Bloggers, independent journalists and citizen activists are the only cure to these parasites at this point, since the journalism industry itself is complicit. They will continue with there discrediting campaigns to ‘hold on’ a bit longer, but there time is clearly up. Keep up the pressure Skink, these fossils are on there way out.

    • Pete Talbot says:

      Well, damn, you guys are good. You have finally uncovered the vast conspiracy that incorporates the CIA, the Missoulian and me. It’s time I spilled my guts. The CIA tracked down a woman whose father was involved in the newspaper business and convinced her, probably through mind-altering drugs, to marry my father. That’s how he ended up as the Missoulian’s publisher and was able to advance my “family’s role in controlling local narratives.” We’ve pretty much run this town ever since, whether through the New Party, the MRA, the mayor, the city council or the county commissioners. Almost all of our local elected officials are at our beck and call. And current Missoulian publisher Jim Strauss, who vets all the news stories, layout and photos for the Missoulian and Ravalli Republic, was coerced, probably by the CIA, into running a picture of me delivering ballot boxes to Missoula’s Elections Center (a huge mistake IMHO, as it blew my cover in fixing elections). I thought QAnon was good. It’s nothing compared to you guys.

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