What’s Going To Happen At Tomorrow’s City Council Meeting?

by Travis Mateer

While it might be the SMART thing to simply NOT attend tomorrow’s City Council meeting, and risk ruffling more feathers, it appears I may HAVE TO attend in order to correct the minutes from last week’s meeting. Why? Because the minutes, like Martin Kidston’s reporting, do not reflect reality. Here’s a screenshot with my emphasis added so you can see what I’m talking about:

Did I say this? No, I did not. This inaccurately recorded comment actually came from a different frustrated citizen, Kevin Hunt. Here is a portion of Hunt’s comment on the post I wrote to correct Kidston’s inaccurate record:

Where does MY frustration come from? Lots of places, like stumbling across the active death scene of Glen Harley Stephens on Saturday at 5:30pm in downtown Missoula, right in front of the doors our County Commissioners enter and exit to access their offices.

This was the scene yesterday from my vantage point to the right of these doors, closer to the Missoula County Courthouse:

For more context on where Harley passed away yesterday, here’s the shot across the street from the doors Harley died in front of. This is the building where City Council and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency do their business:

I’ll go deeper into my frustration by citing the barrage of “reporting” the Missoulian has been doing under the series title NO WHERE TO GO! Here’s the most recent narrative control effort from our “local” media. After Mayoral candidate, Andrea Davis, gets some ink to promote the Trinity housing project, we get some more NO MONEY complaining from our placeholder Mayor, Jordan Hess. From the link (emphasis mine):

At a press conference in April to discuss the rise in urban camping and the city’s response, Mayor Jordan Hess said the city currently doesn’t have enough money to fund all the services that are necessary to alleviate homelessness.

“What I can say is that we have a structural funding problem in the city of Missoula,” he said. “This is a structural revenue issue, where our property taxes are capped at the state level at one half the rate of inflation.”

There are simply things that won’t get funded, he said, and that will “have an impact on our community that people will see, and it will have an impact in the community that is outside the values of our community as well.”

When asked if there have been discussions about the prospects of putting an affordable housing bond on the ballot at some point in the future, Hess said it’s a possibility.

“I think that some sort of voter-approved solution is going to be necessary at this point,” he said.

He noted that a proposed Crisis Services Levy, which was voted down last November, was favored by a majority of city residents, even though the measure failed in the county overall.

“And so I think it remains a priority of city of Missoula residents,” Hess said. “What we will do is, we’ll work within the constraints that we have on the short term. And like I said, in the medium- and long-term, we need solutions at all levels of government. We need funding from the state, we need funding and assistance from the federal government and will likely need some funding at the local level.”

What is going on here? A city that fought like hell to preserve its TIF slush fund is bitching about a property tax cap and threatening the remaining Missoulians who haven’t been forced out of this valley with a affordable housing bond. How many ways can we say FUCK NO? But it obviously doesn’t matter what the voters say, because Hess and his cabal are so fucking deluded, he can actually say A MAJORITY OF CITY RESIDENTS FAVORED THE LEVY. Huh? I mean, I don’t even know what to say, and speechlessness is not a thing that happens to me too often.

It’s not just exhausting LIVING in Double-Standard Town, it can even be difficult to THINK clearly in this updside down place I thought I knew after 23 years.

For example, instead of being able to reflect on Harley’s death this morning, and the kindness of someone placing purple flowers in a vase near where he died (look at the picture), I had to deal with a panhandler who HAS housing and HAS disability income, but she pesters people for money anyway to fund unhealthy habits.

Here’s what Lorenna acts like when she is told to stop bugging people trying to get money out of a downtown ATM machine. I started recording because Lorenna was following me, screaming, and the camera is a surprisingly effective deterrent to this kind of behavior (I’ve seen a downtown business owner use this method before). Also, I’d apologize to the biker for getting his face in the shot, but he shouldn’t be biking on the sidewalk in the first place.

One more thing: giving someone like Lorenna money can actually COMPROMISE her housing, which she is currently in, thankfully. The guy she was pestering at the ATM understood this, which is why he thanked me and identified giving her money as “enabling”.

Getting back to the question posed in the title of this post, I don’t know what’s going to happen at the City Council meeting on Monday. I’ll spend the rest of the day trying to find some clarity about how to proceed. Comments are welcome!

Also welcome, funding! So if every penny hasn’t been gobbled by inflation, the main ways to support my work is through Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or making a donation at my about page. My TIF fund just got a $25 dollar anonymous donation. Thank you!

And 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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4 Responses to What’s Going To Happen At Tomorrow’s City Council Meeting?

  1. JC says:

    A little further down in the Missourian article, Hess makes a pretty stark reveal. Except he is too clueless to realize what he just said:

    “”Unfortunately, our general fund is where our constraint is with regard to the inflationary gap, and that’s where the bulk of services are funded,” Hess said. “From police and fire and these first responder services are funded from that general fund source.”

    What goes unsaid here, is that the general fund is starved of revenue because property taxes are skimmed off in the TIF scam, and shuffled over to the MRA slush fund. It’s what we’ve been saying all along. When TIF caps the amount of property tax going into the general fund in a redevelopment district, and the district grows and requires more services (police, fire, first responder), there is no additional money from the increased property taxes to pay for those services… it all ends up being discretionary funding by unelected political appointees. And services go under funded, or partially funded by taxes from areas that aren’t redevelopment districts.

    Hess just neglects to pin the tail on the donkey. He tries to stab the elephant with it, and misses… badly.

    • J. Kevin Hunt says:

      BOOM! That’s EXACTLY what Hess did in his remarks! (Great metaphor, too, JC!).

      It’s imperative to coordinate a united front effort for the primary election . The good thing about authoritarians, is that they eventually manage to unwittingly unite the citizenry, as a consequence of their undemocratic and repressive practices. I think you’ll agree, that if this were 1977 rather than 2023, petitions for recall of some of these stooges would already be approved as to form and circulating, if not already qualified for the ballot. It’s our job, I submit, to organize eclectic opposition to Hess, and unite behind a candidate whose primary attribute is honesty.

      Great Comment, JC. Let’s us, meaning those already at the point of mutual disgust with the disingenuous Politburo, immediately commence discussions with allies on whether a commonly acceptable candidate can be identified. I have one in mind, with whom I met last week.

      — KH

  2. Pingback: As The Biden Administration Pretends To Address Homelessness, MRA Hands $55,000 To The Poverello Center | Zoom Chron Blog

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