by Travis Mateer
When I realized yesterday’s date was the year anniversary of Johnny Lee Perry getting himself shot by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, I did something I hadn’t done since last August, and that was amplify my voice on the streets of Missoula.
Since it was just after 9am on a Monday, there weren’t many people on the streets to hear me testify. One person I made note of–and who definitely made note of me–was Eli Parker, one of the Westridge Creative judges. Remember this link for later in the post.
After the morning megaphone session, I visited the remote, wooded location where Johnny’s life ended last August 29th. Here’s the brief report:
Upon leaving the area I came across a nice backdrop that got me thinking about how long people can live in the woods, and if it could be possible housing for traffickers. Do I get a finders fee?
After squeezing in some quality river time with some school-bound kiddos, I returned downtown for City Council. My one and only comment of the meeting referenced the ten year plan to end homelessness, the daily failure I see on the streets, and my hope that accountability could be shared between the CITY and the COUNTY.
My hope of County/City alignment is something I borrowed from Dave Strohmaier, a once-upon-a-time City Council member currently acting as one of three County Commissioners. Here’s Dave from a recent article about our departed Mayor:
“I think about the great strides we’ve made in strengthening the relationship between city and county government and jointly coming to realize that the city of Missoula is in Missoula County for crying out loud. And so we need to be working together.,” Strohmeyer said.
“The relationship over the years — and over the decades — has not always been smooth, but John has certainly been right there with us as the Board of County Commissioners in recent years, figuring out how we can jointly work together for the good and benefit of the folks who we represent because this is our community too,” Strohmeyer continued.
First off, yes, the name of our Commissioner is misspelled. Second, what kind of strides? Are you going to have the audacity to mention homelessness, Dave? Of course you are!
A good example of that was the combined efforts launched last year to help the homeless and tackle Missoula housing issues, and efforts to keep Marshall Mountain open to the public.
Strohmaier says that even though John Engen may be gone, he believes that collaboration between the city and the county will continue. In fact, it’s on his “to do” list to see that that happens.
“Yeah, we’ve made such great strides over the past years. I think John would be extremely disappointed if we backslid into an era of controversy and needless rancor,”
What a classy politician. Unload some bullshit about dealing with housing and homelessness, then take full opportunity of Engen’s passing to issue a not-so-veiled threat about “backsliding” and “rancor”.
Some of the work Dave Strohmaier would NOT want to overtly reference when it comes to County/City alignment are the political connections that have wormed from the City into the County, and one of those worms is Westridge Creative, the consulting firm I mentioned above, which is also connected to our outgoing Sheriff.
Since words mean a lot to our elected officials–which is weird when you consider how they abuse them AND their meanings (plural) so often–I should probably clarify that my assertion, made in public comment last evening–that the names Sean Stevenson and Johnny Lee Perry WILL be known in this community “by the time I’m done”–wasn’t intended as a threat.
I’ll leave it there, for now, but stay tuned all week, it’s going to be busy. And, as always, thanks for reading!