by Travis Mateer
I attend events–like the one promoted above by City Club Missoula–NOT to get an education about the reality of topics being presented, but to observe the political spin and damage control from people like our State Attorney, Jesse Laslovich, and our new Police Chief, Mike Colyer.
Is the drug epidemic in America bad and getting worse? Yes. Are Montana jurisdictions under-funded? Yes. Is the southern border a porous shit-show allowing cartels and Chinese raw-ingredient suppliers to run rampant? Yes. Did I learn something I DID NOT already know? Not that I can think, but maybe there’s something in my notes to justify the $10 bucks I shelled out for coffee and a cookie.
Ok, here’s something: Jesse Laslovich HATES federal prosecution guidelines, even though he signs off on them, because limited resources means its triage from top to bottom (I’m paraphrasing). To describe the explosion of Fentanyl, for example, Laslovich said it once only took 10-15 pills to get the attention of his office, but now it’s a minimum of 100 pills.
Is this like official, law enforcement give-a-shit inflation? I don’t know. I constrained myself from asking any questions, per City Club’s policy for media, though that policy doesn’t seem to apply to moderator, Rob Cheney (and editor of the Missoulian) who seemed to ask more questions of the two panelists than usual.
Sidenote: I learned Rob Cheney is working on a new book about Glacier National Park and the environment, so that’s cool! Is that why he didn’t seem to know what the hell was going on with one of his reporters the last time I reached out to him?
Anyway, another recurring theme that tracks with what I heard recently from the family of a resolved missing person case is that local jurisdictions DO NOT have the technological capacity to respond to the sophistication of the cartel threat. Well, duh, I thought, but what’s the solution? Continue throwing MORE money at the security state?
At one point Chief Colyer referenced jail capacity, but if any questions had come up about the jail (none did), Colyer wouldn’t have been able to address them. Why? Because the jail isn’t under the oversight of the police department, that’s Missoula County Sheriff Office territory. So why wasn’t Sheriff Jeremiah Petersen at this City Club presentation? Is he shy or bashful or something?
Supporters of URBAN CAMPING are certainly NOT bashful, and those decrying the TERRIBLE reality of SWEEPS, and the VIOLENCE of cleaning up piles of trash, turned out in force to treat virtue signaling like a fucking marathon race to a la-la-utopia land that doesn’t exist. Why wasn’t the Mayor in attendance, I wonder? Did he have something more important to attend to than all this municipal fun?
As the night dragged on, it started to look like the lawyers, and youngsters, and “houseless” victims were going to be able to stop the final vote on the whack-a-mole strategy by Parks and Rec. At one point Clayton Shaya, one of the self-appointed spokespeople for urban campers, described men coming at night with guns on their hips to the tell them to move, men supposedly with “the county”. Huh?
My comment was early on, and indicated that “adequate shelter beds” is a term I don’t think the youngsters, or other people without my experience working many years at the homeless shelter, actually understand. I pointed out the need to properly staff a facility with trained individuals, so an earlier claim that something could be opened immediately is totally unrealistic.
I know, reality is not something today’s youth are probably all that well-oriented to, and at least one young person took issue with me in her comment, but not the one with the blue hair.
Near the end of the marathon, Gwen Jones laid down some harsh reality for the youngsters about the Authorized Camping Site (ACS), acknowledging human trafficking was happening there, and ALSO acknowledging that private security (Rogers International) were the only ones left staffing the ACS at the end because they couldn’t staff it any other way.
These are actually big-deal disclosures that should be understood as a big deal, but probably won’t be given the context it deserves by conventional media.
Also, no Porta Potty service, or trash service, would even consider providing services anymore to an ACS type approach to this population, nor would any homeless service provider consider staffing it. I was a little flabbergasted at the degree of reality openly admitted by Jones, and I know I wasn’t the only one.
While I wait for some regular commenters to finish listening to the sound of their own voices (I am guilty of this also, but only made one comment Monday night), I should acknowledge that my own frustrations have limited my patience for some of the people I normally have more patience for. Put ME in charge of something, damn it, because I’m hearing some of the same uninformed shit I heard ten years ago and it’s one of MANY things driving me a little crazy!
Speaking of being put in charge of things, I’m doing some paid work for a bit, so depending on my schedule, City Council might be deprived of my public commenting during Wednesday committees for the rest of the summer. I know, if that happens, I’m sure I’ll be missed, right?
I don’t expect any disruption to the frequency of my posting schedule, so continue looking for new content at 7am, Monday through Friday, and a review of the week at 8am on Sunday.
So, what happened? After LOTS of commenting, and pontificating, and hand-wringing, City Council did a roll call vote to send this ordinance back to committee, but that vote failed on a 5-5 tie. Then Councilman Carlino introduced another amendment, one of two he had left in his municipal quiver, but that amendment failed. Did the second one fail? I’m not sure, things started getting a little fuzzy for me at the end.
Since the emergency ordinance had a 90 day shelf-life, discussion ensued about enacting a postponement. Every time a move like this is made, public comment is solicited, and often time comment IS made. Would this ever end, I thought at one point? Yes, it finally did, at least the ordinance part of the night, and the vote to POSTPONE the conversation until August 28th passed on an 8-2-1 vote. Whew!
If you would like to support my efforts, which includes the stamina to watch City Council meetings until late into the evening (I bailed at 10:45 after switching to virtual viewing), Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work, and making a donation at my about page is another.
Thanks for reading!