by Travis Mateer
It’s not every day that a Democrat in Montana like Ellie Boldman is quoted by the media kissing the ass of a Republican like Montana’s Governor, Greg Gianforte, but here it is (emphasis mine):
Overall, task force members said the preliminary draft was a good reflection of the many factors contributing to Montana’s worsening housing crisis.
Boldman commended Gov. Greg Gianforte for creating the task force.
“For the wisdom to see, really, what I think was a crisis in our state,” Boldman said. “And to be really deliberate in trying to put together a task force that represented a lot of different interests.”
Wisdom? Really, Ellie Boldman? Isn’t that laying it on kinda thick?
While I’m tempted to quibble about words, there is a kind of political “wisdom” behind Boldman’s bold ass-kissing, considering Republicans will own the legislative session next year.
Thankfully the Missoulian isn’t acting like a conniving politician indirectly championing her own work on this state housing task force in its chokecherry assessment of the Governor’s housing report, which resulted from the work of the task force.
Here’s how the Missoulian framed the report (emphasis NOT mine):
A history book of chokecherries to the Montana Housing Task Force for its draft report suggesting a pile of ideas that have torn neighbors and neighborhoods apart in the recent past. Some Missoulians must still remember the feuds over “boundary line relocations.” The fights over calling that apartment in the detached garage an “accessory dwelling unit” or a “butt hut.” The “family definition” occupancy standard debate that pivoted on the legal difference between a house full of college student renters and a house full of nuns (really). If these terms seem vague, get ready for history to repeat itself with a lot of top-down pressure from Helena as the proposals to “require localities to allow accessory dwelling units on all single-family lots served by public water” and “prohibit localities from enacting an owner-occupancy requirement.” We’re not implying that Montana’s affordable housing crisis can resolve itself. But Gov. Greg Gianforte’s policy project would have saved a lot of time by recalling how its recycled ideas got received the last time someone trotted them out.
Throwing an entire HISTORY BOOK of chokecherries at our Governor is a mixed metaphor I can totally get behind. It’s also interesting to see how OLD ideas get deployed by this administration, especially on the heels of the fireside chat where some terrible NEW ideas were thrown out like they don’t stink.
Anyway, if political self-preservation is the goal, Ellie Boldman’s choice to give Gianforte (and herself, let’s not kid ourselves) political cover is probably a pretty good idea.
Thanks for reading!