Week In Review: February 20-24

by Travis Mateer

There was so much going on this week, it took a bonus Friday post AND a Saturday post to document most of what I wanted to document. Despite this effort, some significant developments weren’t included in the week’s coverage, like the Mineral County Mandamus status hearing I attended, and Josh Slotnick’s embarrassing mea culpa for not being more upfront about the business he’s connected to, which recently had a variance request before Commissioners.

From the link:

Missoula County on Thursday confirmed that one of its three elected commissioners is a partner in a project seeking a variance request that would allow a business to operate in conjunction with an agricultural operation off Third Street, along with future residential development.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, along with Missoula County Commissioners Dave Strohmaier and Juanita Vero, recommended the county approve the variance request at a meeting on Feb. 9.

But during the meeting, county officials never disclosed the fact that fellow Commissioner Josh Slotnick was a partner in the project the county was recommending for approval.

Slotnick was not present at the meeting in which the recommendation was given. The Missoula Current didn’t report Slotnick’s involvement.

“The presentation by WGM, who was representing the project, did mention his spouse by name and the name of their business a few times,” Missoula County Communications Director Allison Franz told the Missoula Current. “But no one specifically disclosed his involvement, and we should have, for transparency’s sake.”

Sending the Comms person, Alison Franz, out to cover for something Slotnick should have just disclosed, upfront, in the first place, is pretty low.

Since Josh Slotnick is ALSO a poet, and since I like to collect the books of our local officials, I pulled out Josh’s poetry book, HomeFarm, and looked at the table of contents. The cluster of poems about pigs at the end of this collection seemed promising, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Like David Barsotti, Josh Slotnick has to kill animals sometimes with a gun, like he did in 2008 at the PEAS farm. From the link (emphasis mine):

A problem arose when a woman who lives on Duncan Drive called police to report that someone at the farm was shooting pigs.

That much was true. Slotnick said he had a friend with extensive experience in raising pigs come to kill the animals, which weighed an average of 270 pounds. It’s also true, that even though pigs have been shot in previous years at the farm, they probably shouldn’t have been because city ordinances forbid discharging a firearm in the city limits.

In past years, the pigs’ deaths haven’t caused a problem. But this year, the farm has a new neighbor, and she didn’t take kindly to the process.

“Basically we had a call about shooting in the city limits in regards to pigs,” police Lt. Mike Brady said. “We talked to the farm manager and it was over by that time.”

Here is how Josh Slotnick processed the trauma of having a neighbor call him out for breaking the law.

Poor Josh! Good thing there’s media around to let the public know what’s going on, right? And I’m a part of that proud local niche, which Josh appreciates, according to the inscription I received when I met with him last summer.

I am keeping up the good work, Josh! But it’s difficult sometimes, like when the election website showing who has filed for Mayor is down, and has been, for weeks.

It’s been OVER a week now since I spoke with Alison Franz, the same person sent out to cover for Slotnick. She confirmed the link to the candidate filing didn’t work, and that she would follow up with the election people. What’s been the result so far? Instead of a broken link, the link is just gone altogether. Good work Team Elections, Missoula Chapter!

The work, though, isn’t all links, quotes and screen-shots. No, the poet in me has kicked out another set of simple verses for my ukulele to help me bring to you, at the conclusion of this week’s episode. I do hope you enjoy it! And if you want to hear the songs, and podcasts, and 5 (or more) posts a week, please consider making a financial donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading/listening!

UPDATE: I forgot to include a video clip of Graham Cooke showing what a FUN Christian response can look like when the Satanists come a-cursin’! Enjoy!

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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5 Responses to Week In Review: February 20-24

  1. webdoodle says:

    Hmm, the election website is down after I suggested you run for mayor, and later you disclose Sean McCoy, an environmental terrorist according to then Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, is running for mayor. Coincidence? Were more political radicals planning to run? Or was one radical enough that they now force every applicant to appear in person now?

    I’ve been telling all my forestry/logging related friends about your find about McCoy, many who are flat out pissed to hear he’s not still in jail, let alone legally able to run for Mayor. Doesn’t a felony conviction preclude someone from running for political office, they ask? Whatever the case, I suspect this mayors race is going to be the biggest political spectacle of the year for Montana.

    BTW – I was unaware that McCoy was a Smokejumper. Are you or your readers aware that the CIA heavily recruited Smokejumpers to be kickers for the CIA’s Air America program in Laos during the illegal war they conducted there? That they recruited those Smokejumpers here in Missoula, and that the recruiter lived here for many years before his suspicious death?

    There is a great book about the topic, you can find in the Missoula library, or if you want to own it, can be bought online:


    Missoula, as I’ve mentioned before, is a hotbed of CIA activity.

  2. TC says:

    Along with his under the radar variance I see Farmer Josh (and “partner”) just received $50K grant from the State to build their new farm store. Perhaps this largess will quiet Josh’s constant whining (for a moment) about the Big Bad State Government that keeps Missoula from reaching its greatness

  3. Daniel Carlino says:

    You can also use the Montana Campaign Electronic Reporting System to see who has filed for office. Quite a few city council incumbents have already filed, but their campaigns and time in office could be cut here soon if SB381 passes! https://cers-ext.mt.gov/CampaignTracker/public/search

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