An Honest Business Woman’s Ignorance And Todd Frank’s Putin Problem That TIF Can’t Fix

by Travis Mateer

The proprietor of the business I spoke with today was refreshingly honest when I offered her my business card. No point in taking it, she said, if she wasn’t going to do anything with it.

I suggested she could take the information on the card and find the documentary Engen’s Missoula online to begin increasing her awareness of Tax Increment Financing and the impacts on her business.

Thinking she had an effective retort, the woman said she doesn’t pay city taxes. Do you live in the County, I asked? Yes, she replied. Do you know the name Sean Stevenson? No, she did not, nor the name of the young man who allegedly assaulted him on January 3rd, 2020, in the Poverello Center.

I then proceeded to tell the woman how Johnny Lee Perry came to be shot out in the County where her taxes support the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

How did it get so easy to be so ignorant about dead members of the BIPOC demographic this community claims to care so deeply about? Are there other, more pressing things for our corporate news media to be covering?

Like maybe the sad story of this man?

Todd Frank, unlikely victim of Putin

No, Todd Frank’s story isn’t sad, so don’t buy this contrived sob story about Ski factory disruptions from the Russian-Ukraine war hitting Missoula shops.

Instead of reading that bullshit, I suggest a little reminder about how Todd Frank got $50,000 from MRA for facade improvements to his Southgate Mall area expansion because that is such a NICE story featuring Todd Frank using public money to help rise above the adversity he experienced when a mean hotel made his parking situation sad. From the link (emphasis mine):

“I started looking as a way to expand the business when the (managers of the Holiday Inn Downtown) came over and told me they were going to gate their lot,” Frank explained.

The hotel owns all the parking spots behind the Trailhead’s downtown location. With the new ROAM Student Housing and the new Marriott Hotel opening up, the hotel decided it could no longer let its lot be used by non-customers. So, Frank was left without a place for people to load rafts and other boats. Midtown looked like an enticing option, and he bought the warehouse from the Lambros family.

He applied for and received $50,000 worth of Façade Improvement Program funding from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to install huge glass windows in one corner of the warehouse. Now, he says it’s one of the largest and most complete river sports showrooms in the entire Pacific Northwest, if not in the country. Frank says he orders boats and supplies in bulk, which means he can have a lot of inventory on hand for people who want to save on shipping costs.

Isn’t that a REALLY nice story? I hope Frank remembers how public financing helped make his complete river sports showroom dreams come true as this bleak forecast for winter ski sales gets a headline in July.

And remember, if YOUR business dreams need tax increment help, some of that public loot could be YOURS! Just look at what the Radius Gallery owners are up to!

Thanks for reading…and watching!

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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