Damn the MT Supremes
The Missoula City Council thought that keeping guns out of the hands of felons, minors and the mentally unstable through expanded background checks at gun shows and for private sales would be a good idea. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox (also Republican candidate for governor, you know, from the party that professes to be in favor of local control) voided the ordinance. District Court Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps overruled Fox. Fox then appealed to the Montana Supreme Court.
The Supremes ruled 5-0 against the ordinance in what, I suppose, was a strict interpretation of Montana Codes Annotated. Still, I’m disappointed that more guns in the hands of more people, no matter who they are, seems to be the law of the land here in Montana. Here’s the Missoulian’s story.
Don Pogreba has additional info on the Republican attorney general candidates squabbling over who should get credit for this “victory.” There’s also some data on the their fundraising, eight paragraphs down.
Skanky Missoula mailers
Two weeks out from Missoula’s municipal election, postcards are showing up in mailboxes in the wards where “Team Liberty” candidates are running. Team Liberty is made up of candidates recruited by conservative council member Jesse Ramos. The cards are being paid for by a PAC with a treasurer and a bank out of Helena although the PAC is the cleverly named “Missoulians for Missoula.”
Team Liberty opponents are being targeted as pro-sales tax, pro-higher property taxes and pro-road diets (reducing lanes for bikeways, pedestrian routes, etc.). Higher property taxes is the most egregious charge because while some of the opposing candidates have supported a local option sales tax, the reason for that tax is to grab tourist dollars so property taxes could potentially be reduced.
Donations have come from a few business folks in Missoula associated with Bretz RV, Muralt’s Travel Plaza, Lambros Real Estate, Garden City Heating and Plumbing … and a lawyer, a periodontist and some names I don’t recognize. The biggest contribution, $7,840, came from Kiomi Burks, co-owner of Fuel Fitness gyms around the state.
They’re kind of amateur-hour cards: the same template for each race, with a candidate’s name misspelled in one and the name “Jane Doe” left on another card where a candidate’s name is supposed to go.
One thing Team Liberty is opposed to is tax-increment financing (subsides for projects which when completed should provide increased tax revenue). The irony here being that one of the contributors, Bretz RV, received $122,000 in TIF benefits when it expanded in 2015.
Some other campaign reports
I mentioned that I’d be posting campaign finance data for some of the other statewide races, and Public Service Commission candidates, following a post on the governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House races.
As much as it pains me to do this, I’m linking to Greg Standberg’s Big Sky Words blog (Strandberg says he’s voting for Greg Gianforte for governor, for example). Still, I’m not above letting someone else do my legwork and he has the numbers for most of the Tier B races. Here’s one he didn’t report on, the attorney general’s race:
On the Democratic side, Gov. Steve Bullock’s chief legal counsel, Raph Graybill, raised $103,262, has $7,310 in expenditures and $95,951 left over. Missoula Legislator Kim Dudik raised $87,681 and spent $35,850 with $51,830 left in the bank.
Republican Jon Bennion, chief deputy attorney general, raised $97,743, spent $11,442 with $86,300 remaining. His primary opponent, chief legislative wacko Austin Knudsen, raised $63,915, has $3,459 in expenditures and $60,456 in the bank.
Strandberg’s also missing some of the data on an extremely important but often overlooked PSC race, so here you go:
District 4, which includes Missoula County but stretches from Lincoln County all the way down through Ravalli County, has five candidates, so far. Democrat Dan Carlino, a Sunrise Movement activist, raised $2,091, spent $1,351 and has $739 in the bank. Another Democrat who just entered the race, Missoula regulatory issues attorney Monica Tranel, has raised $1,690, spent $59 and has $1,630 in the bank. There’s also green building consultant Brett Rosenberg, who raised $1,670, spent $436 and has $1,233 left over.
On the Republican side, past Montana Republican Party Chairman Gaspard “Will” Deschamps has raised a total of $2,880, spent $1322 and has $1,556 remaining. Webb Brown, former head of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, raised $2,330, has spent $104 and has $2,225 in the bank.
The salary of a commissioner is a little $100,000 a year. I have seen very little from the current commission to justify that amount.
More in the Irony Department
This final tidbit has nothing to do with Missoula and little to do with politics. But the fact that 110 Jamaicans are in arbitration with the Yellowstone Club, the resort for the uber-rich in the Gallatin Canyon, caught my attention.
The club, with members like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, can’t find any locals who can afford to live in the Big Sky area or want to drive that treacherous canyon everyday, so they import Jamaicans, mon.
The Jamaicans are working for $12.00 an hour and say they aren’t getting the wages and tips other employees doing the same jobs receive, and the hiring service, Hospitality Staffing Solutions out of Georgia, has taken unfair deductions from their pay. They’re in arbitration here in the Garden City, so I guess there is a Missoula angle to this post after all. I wish the Jamaicans the best of luck.