On Tuesday night, every candidate for city commission and mayor attended a forum hosted by the Plymouth Congregational Church and Carroll College. The candidates for city commission include Mark Burzynski, Andres Haladay, Heather K. O’Loughlin and Gary L. Spaeth.
Haladay and O’Laughlin belong to the progressive slate, which also includes mayoral candidate Wilmot Collins.
The forum’s topics included morality, confederate monuments, snow removal, and parking.
The Helena IR reported that “Spaeth was asked how he would improve the parking situation, which he said is crucial to having a vibrant downtown or local businesses would lose customers to big box stores. Spaeth didn’t provide examples on how we would address parking.”
What the Helena IR did not report was Spaeth’s zinger directed at Burzynski.
Before Spaeth answered the question on parking, he took a moment to sarcastically thank Burzynski for “solving” the downtown’s parking problem by orchestrating the relocation of the BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) headquarters and its hundreds of employees outside of downtown and away from local businesses.
Ouch, but it’s true. Burzynski spearheaded BCBS’s relocation, which has had a significantly negative impact on Helena-owned businesses. The zinger from Spaeth was unexpected since Spaeth and Burzynski have been forced into an akward alliance as momentum grows for Andres Haladay and Heather O’Laughlin.