by Travis Mateer
While the Missoulian article doesn’t hint at any drama, stating simply that the Kiwanis Park easement has advanced to City Council, when you read the article (how many still do this?) you can appreciate how the Carlino/Jordan duo are keeping the pressure on. And I love it!
Here’s how the issue is being framed:
The Missoula Climate, Conservation and Parks Committee on Wednesday moved forward with a proposal for an easement next to Kiwanis Park, paving the way for redevelopment of two homes located adjacent to the park.
Some members of the community were concerned about the effect this decision will have on the current tenants of the two houses, but committee members felt their hands were tied because the city can’t regulate decisions property owners make on their private properties.
“We have no ability as a council to regulate what a landlord does or does not do with their private contracts,” said Ward 4 Council Member Mike Nugent
While Nugent is correct, what he seems to not understand is ALL Council members have something called a “platform”. Back in the day it was sometimes referred to as a “soap box”. And here’s what the duo is doing with theirs:
Ward 3 Council Member Daniel Carlino motioned to table the vote on the easement to give the renters time to find alternative housing, but the motion failed. Only Carlino and Ward 6 Council Member Kristen Jordan voted to table the easement vote.
Jordan said she voted yes because doing so would be “giving people more time to find a place to live.”
“We are losing our frontline staff,” Jordan said. “We are losing our low-income earners. We’re going to be like Bozeman. We’re not going to have anybody to serve us our coffee or to work in the police department or work in the fire department because we do not offer affordable housing.”
It wasn’t just these naysaying Council members voicing opposition, the Missoulian even reported on what a member of the public had to say in response to the developer claiming the current housing is dilapidated shit:
Public commenter Hannah Kosel wasn’t swayed by the developer’s explanation. Kosel urged the committee to do its part to preserve the Front Street homes.
“I’m frustrated as well due to the conditions of their living environments, but that is due to neglect by these developers and their current landlords, something that is their responsibility as an investment and is their business to take care of and not something to lean on the city and taxpayer money for support to be able to renovate into luxury businesses for them and have a handoff in that way,” Kosel said.
Right on! Keep prodding, Dynamic Duo, and I’ll keep applauding!
Also: A national study just concluded that the housing crisis cannot be solved by building more housing supply unless it is dedicated permanently to low income residents; that Democratic mayors don’t preside over worse houselessness than Republican mayors, and that while addidtion and mental illness play a significant role, the overwhelmingly dominant reaaon for the crisis is simply our refusal to build low-cost housing.