Montana Politics

Tuesday’s Election in Helena

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While it is unsurpising that “The Paper of the Status Quo”, the Helena Independent Record, has endorsed retaining the Helena City Commission, it is clear that Alan Peura should replace Marc Parriman on the commission. The IR’s endorsement was telling–rather than comparing the candidates and their stands on the issues facing our city, it relies on trite catchphrases like balance and teamwork.

Peura has distinguished himself as the clear choice. His campaign is focused on the importance of the Commission listening to the people of our city, increasing community involvement, and preserving the unique nature of our community. He has run an energetic campaign focused on building relationships and listening to the concerns of citizens. His background and expertise on budgeting issues will be invaluable to the city.

I wonder how local officials can tell people on one hand that they should be involved in local politics, but, on the other,that participatory democracy is bad.

Marc Parriman’s position on the Downtown Walking Mall is emblematic of why he should be replaced on the commission. Despite lip service about “listening to the public”, Parriman and Mayor Jim Smith pushed ahead with plans to change the character of the entire downtown despite clear opposition from the majority of Helenans who cared about the issue. Parriman’s opposition to Initiative 2005-1 also demonstrates his continued desire to impose his will on the future of Helena’s downtown, rather than that of the people.

Direct democracy is something that the current commission and Independent Record seem to be afraid of. The fact that this election cycle has motivated Helenans, young and old, to become involved in the democratic process, is a victory all by itself. I wonder how local officials can tell people on one hand that they should be involved in local politics, but, on the other,that participatory democracy is bad.

The Helena Staff of ID.com endorses the retention of Sandy Oitzinger, election of Alan Peura, a yes vote on 2005-1. For mayor, you’re on your own. 🙂

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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