Helena City Elections: Referenda and Bond Issues

Park and Recreational Facilities Bond

I support this measure, though not without some hesitation. In general terms, providing quality recreational opportunities for the community is a reasonable function of local government, and some of the proposed spending, like improvements at Memorial Park and the transformation of the old dump site into a much improved park facility, are great ideas.

So why the hesitation? I’m less thrilled about the proposed $1.12 million dollars for Kindrick-Legion Field. While the facility does provide a home for American Legion high school teams, the primary impetus for the expenditure is to improve the revenue making potential for the Helena Brewers baseball team. From major league teams down to the minors, sports organizations have been shaking down municipalities for the past twenty years, getting substantial public payouts for limited return. The General Manager of the Helena Brewers may be, as the IR noted, concerned about the workout facilities of the stadium, but I suggest that those costs should be born by Major League Baseball and the Brewers rather than the people of Helena.

Another concern is that I think the City of Helena has spent enough time and energy recently on the center of town and the Great Northern Town Center area. Improving neighborhood parks and park parcels, some of which have not been developed in as many as ten years, should also be a priority. Neighborhood parks are critical to provide recreation for Helena’s kids, and I’d like to see the City Commission move to improve areas that are perhaps not as politically important in the future.

Referendum 2007-1: Iraq Withdrawal

Will Helena voting for the withdrawal of American troops matter to the policymakers who refuse to listen to the majority of the American people matter? No. Am I occasionally troubled by the self importance of the promoters of initiatives like this? Yes. That being said, I intend to vote for this resolution, because futile though the gesture might be, voting to bring American service members home is the right thing to do, and I will not lend my voice to support this war.

Referendum 2007-2: Funding Our Troops Without Conditions

This is perhaps the worst proposal ever put before voters in the city of Helena, and I definitely recommend a ‘no’ vote. For citizens in a democratic society to ever, even rhetorically, support government action “without condition” would be horrifying, and in the case of a nebulous war against an enemy that cannot be defined, it’s unimaginable. It’s enough to have zealots in Washington advocating endless war; we certainly don’t need to support it from Helena.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an 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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