Missoula hits The Nation
Calling our mayor “scrappy,” The Nation magazine takes a look at the condemnation and then purchase of Mountain Water Company by the city of Missoula. It’s an excellent synopsis of the three-year struggle to gain control over the city’s most precious resource. An outtake:
It was a risky gambit, fraught with political and financial peril: Missoula’s foe was one of Wall Street’s wealthiest private-equity firms, the Carlyle Group, which owned the water utility.
What happened in Missoula is opposite of the current trend, which is the privatization of municipal water systems.
In some places, privatization is already occurring at a steady clip, especially in Eastern states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There, legislators, public-utility commissions, and private water providers have come together in recent years to pass “fair value” laws that make privatization easier. The laws roll back restrictions on the kinds of costs that water utilities can pass on to rate payers, thereby incentivizing the sale of public property.
It cost more than it should have but I’m thankful that our water system is the hands of Missoula citizens. By the way, the graphic above, courtesy Wikipedia, is a representative image of The Carlyle Group: the mouth parts and sucker of your common leech.
Daines a no-show, again
In other Missoula news, a town hall is being held tomorrow in the Garden City on issues surrounding election security, from dark money and Citizens United to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The Missoula Current reports that two organizations, the Montana World Affairs Council and Montanans for National Security, invited Montana’s Senators to the event. Jon Tester accepted and Steve Daines has yet to respond. The Current also observes:
Daines has been widely criticized recently for not appearing in person before Montana voters.
The town hall is scheduled for Friday, July 7 at 9 a.m. in the University Center at the University of Montana.
Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney caught up with Rep. Greg Gianforte and asked Montana’s sole U.S. House member his opinion on Donald Trump’s latest video tweet. Whitney wondered if the image of Trump bodyslamming a wrestler with the CNN logo for a head was ” …worthy of an interview, and something that’s relevant for you to talk about?” (In June, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for bodyslamming a reporter at a campaign event.)
Greg Gianforte: Would I have sent this tweet? I’m not sure. But the reality is, the administration is doing good work. I would probably categorize this particular tweet as a distraction.
EW: Some people interpreted the tweet as promoting violence against reporters. Did you interpret it that way?
GG: I would just say, I think the focus ought to be on the business of the people. And I would characterize – because we’re even talking about this, and not talking about some of the meatier issues and what the American people and Montanans want us to talk about, I would characterize it as a distraction.
He’s not sure if he would have sent the tweet? The administration is doing good work? The tweet is a distraction?
There goes any semblance of remorse for his actions or insight into the affairs of state we had hoped for out of Gianforte. It’s going to be a long 18 months. Here’s the rest of the MTPR story.