by Travis Mateer
I book-ended last week by attending two public meetings, Missoula’s City Council marathon meeting on Monday, then Mineral County’s Commissioner meeting on Friday. Some of the highlights? Gwen Jones defines clapping as an “outburst“, and Debra Jackson can’t approach a table to answer questions without shoes on.
In Missoula, the process to select our place-holder Mayor moved forward with 19 potential candidates filling out their applications. A little controversy emerged during the selection of the questions that will be asked of these candidates because two questions were allegedly problematic. From the link:
While council members supported the questions for their range of issues, at least two of the nine proposed questions were called out for being potentially biased or loaded.
One asked if a candidate would “replace Rogers International with another private security force” or create a “public, non-militarized” replacement.
Another question on the Missoula Redevelopment Agency was also set aside for needed revisions. It asks a candidate if they’d be “willing to change the governance of the MRA, specifically how they identify and distribute funds, to a model where they must seek council approval.”
Several council members suggested the question was loaded and narrowly focused and failed to reflect the majority view of the City Council. Rather, it suggested that change was necessary and imminent, when that’s not the case.
While Missoula’s elected leaders can’t agree on questions to ask our Mayoral candidates, the local government in Mineral County struggled just to hold a meeting, since part of it was scheduled to be a closed session. Some local citizens were a little miffed at how this was being handled, so they showed up to ask what the hell is going on.
Here’s how Mineral County Attorney, Debra Jackson and Deputy County Attorney, Wally Congdon, decided to conduct themselves on Friday:
After the excitement of that odd showdown ended, most of the crowd left, so I didn’t have much of an audience when I made my one and only public comment (during Missoula’s Council meeting I made 3).
Thanks to modern technology, I have an audio file of my comment, so you can listen to it below.
After the excitement of watching local governments struggle to accomplish basic things, I returned to Zoom Town where live music played all weekend long, for free, thanks to the River City Roots Fest.
This event has been happening for 16 years, just one year short of our deceased Mayor’s reign. It’s also one of Ellen Buchanan’s favorite events, so I’ll conclude today’s post with a song I recorded for Ellen, the director of Missoula’s shadow government known as the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.