Mayoral Interviews + Travis Public Comments = A Long Day

by Travis Mateer

Before the six Mayoral interviews could begin on Wednesday, the relocation and build-out of the new Transitional Safe Outdoor Space (the cool kids pronounce it like this: T-Sauce) was on the agenda.

Why, you ask? Because the TSOS can’t be built into existence if it has to follow the zoning requirements other developers have to follow on the land where it’s going to be built. Requirements under Title 20 would require things like protected, long-term bike storage, and landscape islands.

I didn’t see the connection at the time, because I had yet to hear the anecdotal story that secured my tepid support of one of the six candidates, so I made my first public comment of the day with some on-the-ground perspective about homeless camp infrastructure and the need for sensible rules and policies.

After the morning homeless camp kick-off listing all the various requirements the developers of this new homeless camp won’t have to include, Jacob Elder approached the Council, and League Of Women interviewers, for his I-want-to-be-Mayor round 2.

Personally, I’m kind of excited at the new skills I am seeing develop from this young man who crashed and burned in both his professional ambition to become Mayor last year, and his personal life since then.

What skills, you ask? The ability to communicate with the dead, for one.

I don’t know if it’s a Ouija board, or something more exotic, but somehow Jacob Elder has received the clear message that our departed Mayor (his former political opponent) would LOVE to see him get the job. A job, he reminded everyone, he’s wanted for seven years.

The two candidates who actually have a chance to get the job include the one I’d like to see receive the seven votes necessary next Monday, and that’s Mike Nugent.

The reason is the story he told during his concluding comments about the quandary of a home seller to hook up, or NOT to hook up to the city sewer. Hooking up to the sewer would have meant being annexed into the city, and being annexed into the city would have meant a whole slew of upgrades, quickly approaching, Nugent said, up to at least $45,000 in required improvements.

The sellers decided to forgo that option, because why the hell would they? If they had, I imagine their faces would have eventually looked something like this:

To be fair, my face may have resembled Hanks’ had I not kept it in a book for most of my time inside Council chambers. Especially when the other serious contender, Jordan Hess, hemmed and hawed about the pandemic being the reason for entering into a contract with the private security firm, Rogers International, “outside the procurement process”.

One thing I learned listening to Jordan Hess congratulating himself for no “houseless” people dying of exposure the last few years is that he’s now on the board of the Poverello Center, a place where one “houseless” man, Sean Stevenson, had a lethal encounter with another resident (or residents) on January 3rd, 2020.

After Hess’ performance, I let him know that Sean’s family never heard from anyone at the Poverello Center after Sean’s assault and subsequent removal from life support at St. Pats hospital while a Sheriff Deputy stood by, since the Deputy was acting as the coroner at the time. Then I followed up with an email, because that’s how I roll.

I decided NOT to roll up to the podium on rollerblades for my second public comment, which occurred just after 4pm. In the spirit of sharing anecdotal stories, I included a positive encounter I had with a CITY police officer last week. She was checking in on Harley NOT because someone reported his behavior as a problem, but because checking in on some of the street people had become part of her morning routine.

I rambled a bit in my comment, since there’s so much crazy shit going on, but tried to keep it brief. Ultimately I wanted Council to know (and for it to be documented) that a concerning lack of transparency has developed between law enforcement and the media tasked with informing the public about what the hell is going on.

I let them know I’m asking questions–like whether or not that SWAT incident at the end of August was a false alarm, and who might be coordinating other possible trainings–and THEY SHOULD TO!

After all, we are in the middle of a significant leadership transition, and not just with a new, temporary Mayor. We will also have a new Sheriff next year, most likely Jeremiah Petersen, but no one is talking about him because he doesn’t have a political opponent. I don’t think that’s a good thing at all.

After City Council meets next Monday, we should know who our placeholder Mayor will be. For the sake of the elders on Council, I hope the youngsters don’t keep them up too late. A grumpy Gwen face is a withering sight to see, especially in person.

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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3 Responses to Mayoral Interviews + Travis Public Comments = A Long Day

  1. TC says:

    Im really looking forward to Council/media narrative control regarding the appointment of the interim Mayor. There are two POC and a woman (all classes that have never led our fair city). Instead, we will get a middle-aged Cisgender, privileged (very much so through familial relations!!!) white male. There will be lots of empty praise for the “diverse” thoughts brought forth in the interviews while knowing this process was pre-determined.
    I guess J.E.D.I. only exists in workshops and press releases right Missoula? Let the spin begin!

  2. webdoodle says:

    I’m don’t think Elders’s channeling his inner Ouija board. I think his voting constituents are pressuring him to step up. As the second place ‘loser’ in the Missoula Mayoral race, he has every reason to ensure he is considered. Anything less is condoning the Weekend at Bernie’s farce this whole political debacle is.

  3. John Kevin Hunt says:

    As of this moment Thursday evening, no candidate has a majority locked. The Councilors are talking amongst themselves (I’m assured one-on-one). Elder won’t muster more than one vote, and I think that one is soft. More I won’t say, as I have a horse in this race. Travis — you didn’t say who the other candidate you favor, is. Yeah, I was dumbfounded by Jacob saying “Mayor Engen wod want me appointed and pass the tirch to me,” or something lime that. Travis, your comments were excellent. You won’t get any response, though, without submitting a public records request. That’s not to say they’ll cough up the name of the person shot, but that’s a matter for appealing if they don’t provide it. On the Mayoral appointment, I’ll say that I would not be surprised to see Rice or Weasel Head get it in second ballot.

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