Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 3:20 PM

We love you too

I loved you. I never loved or trusted Lee Enterprises. My heart goes out to all you workers, but as a brand, put a fork in it. It's done. Everyone but your officers that made this decision should start another (truly) independent publication with the original intent.

Hoyt Smith

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Maybe we will...

Sellout to Lee Enterprises. The Independent should change its name to The Missoulian: Lifestyle edition.

David M. Holder

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Voice of experience

I was an editor with the Flathead newspapers—including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Hungry Horse News—when Lee bought us in 1999. We were lied to from start to finish as they cut staff, damaged the products, shed readers, angered the communities and finally dumped the badly degraded newspapers to Hagadone. Don't believe a word you are told. And be aware that people might lose vacations—we all did.

Tom Lawrence

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Keep Missoula weird

Ouch. That independent feeling must remain. I rely on you being against the curve and the norm, now more than ever. Best of luck on keeping that cool edge. Always thankful for your stories and viewpoint.

Robert Eckert

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




'When I was a boy...'

When you sell to a big company, even a well meaning one, you destroy the very reason people seek alternative and independent journalism. OK, so they stay separate for now. What about in 10 years when an even bigger company buys the Missoulian? You can't guarantee that level of independence, unless you retain control over it yourself. If you had done a vote by your readers, I have no doubt the answer would have been a resounding no to selling the paper. If the paper is for the public, they should have had a say. Disappointing. I've been bragging about this paper for years. I'm so tired of everything small getting absorbed into everything big. Whatever happened to the entrepreneurial spirit in this country? People used to see things through to the end and make sure it was kept in generations to come. We used to compete, not buy the competition all the time.

Curtis Medina

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Beacon in the darkness

I worked for the Missoulian in the early '90s, around the time the Lee stooges bought the Messenger and killed it That is what they do: buy and kill. It is time for a new newspaper. Cancel your subscription to the Missoulian. Support the Flathead Beacon.

Bill Turner

posted on missoulanews.com




Message received

I helped move the Indy into its original offices because Eric, the original editor, asked for a hand. The Indy is no longer precisely because it is no longer independent, and if you cannot get the message of that defacement, then you probably never saw the peace sign painted over again and again. Staff of the Indy, I'm sorry this has occurred, good luck, but edit your CVs.

Shawn Farrell

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




You're welcome

Thank you, Indy. Hearing from you is important ("So, about that sale...," April 23). Hope you don't ever have to "hand over the reins," as you say.

Kathleen Kimble

posted on missoulanews.com




Credit where due

Finally! I have been waiting for someone to write an article about the injustices perpetrated on the water protectors, the Standing Rock Sioux and Wind River Cheyenne ("Standing Rock and the lessons of Andrew Jackson," March 23). Gundars Rudzitis did an excellent job. I would like to add my two cents' worth. There was no reason for the police presence. The ensuing events started with the pipeline bigwigs ordering their hired security forces to harass the Sioux and Cheyenne for their peaceful protest. It escalated from there when the Bismarck mayor and governor of North Dakota brought in police from neighboring states. Then came razor wire and barricades. Now the governor of North Dakota is crying about $30 million paid out to said police. He has nobody to blame but himself. All he had to do was leave them alone. The Native Americans who were arrested were treated very badly, thus, heaping more indignities upon them. Again, through no fault of their own. I am a proud member of the Blackfeet tribe. I thank all the people who stood with us against this fiasco.

Ken Haugen

Missoula




Sign of the times

Sad that people have such little respect for private property. ("Indy sign (inevitably vandalized," April 17). In my experience, the Indy has a great staff with a lot of integrity. We don't always (or really ever) agree on issues, but if any news organization has leadership capable of pushing back against Lee's corporate machine, I think it's the Indy. Good luck!

Adam Hertz

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Missing in inaction

People in my town are offended that Greg Gianforte's health-care op-ed, which we saw in the major Montana newspapers, supports preserving rural access without a single mention of how impossible it is to access health care in rural Montana. That is what happens when an engineer gets into your business without making effort to understand the problem. And why would he? After all, when has anyone seen this fella in Libby or Malta or Culbertson or Broadus or Darby or Dillon? Maybe Gianforte would have a deeper respect for how far away affordable health care is from rural Americans if he got out of the television studio and into his SUV to visit those little towns that don't have a pharmacy or a doctor, much less a hospital bed.

Jerry McDonald

Thompson Falls

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:07 PM

The more you know

I am a visiting researcher from India. Let me share the India story on tobacco here ("Sins of the others," April 6). India has a huge tobacco problem, both smoked and chewed varieties. India also has huge taxes on tobacco, and this item figures almost annually on the tax-hike section in the budget. But, as we moved into the 21st century, we have encountered many fewer smokers on the roads than we previously did. (Sadly, the number of smokers generally keeps increasing.) The reduction in public smoking is the result of a concerted effort. Every pack of cigarette needs to carry a health hazard warning covering 40 percent of the pack's front. All movie-goers watch warnings on the hazards of tobacco. Above all, there is a nationwide ban on public smoking. The logic is that smoking, unlike other habits, causes cancer and other health hazards not just for the smoker, but also for those around him or her. The family, especially the kids at home, are the worst affected. If a tax hike reduces a person's cigarette consumption by 30 packs a year, then it should be welcomed from the health perspective. But the tax money thus acquired should be spent on awareness and rehabilitation programs.

David Jeyaraj

posted at missoulanews.com




Put that in your pipe

I take offense at this article. No, the Legislature would not be taxing the poor. They would be taxing anyone who uses tobacco products! Period! The poor can't afford tobacco products, that is their choice ... tobacco or food! We all have to make tough decisions financially. And who ends up paying the bill for their health care for tobacco-related issues? We do, the citizens of Montana. This article appears to be written by someone under the influence of "Big Tobacco." This is their defense too, almost verbatim!

Diana Jo Page

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




No sympathy

If outrageously pricing cigarettes discourages people from buying them, everyone wins. Medical treatment as a result of smoking is an ongoing public health concern. A drop in people who waste their money on tobacco means more of my tax dollars are available for treatment of conditions that are not easily preventable. Lives, especially those of children, will be improved when innocents are not exposed to secondhand smoke. The planet will not be littered by cigarette butts. Death and disfigurement will be reduced as a result of a decrease in house fires and wildfires, both commonly a result of careless smoking habits. The horror of being unable to breathe crosses all economic groups. Higher cigarette taxes do not unfairly target the poor. Cigarette taxes are funding educational programs and medications that are proven to help people kick the tobacco habit. Cost is just one more way to discourage cigarette use. I am more than willing to help people who can't afford basic necessities such as shelter and food. But if a person can't afford cigarettes, they need to give up the habit. Period. No sympathy, because it's a good thing!

Linda Joye

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Out of date

Lead was federally banned from use in waterfowl hunting on all federal, state, and privately owned land since 1991. There are hefty fines for being caught using lead by FWP. The issue at hand is lead core bullets. The statistics these hippies recite are numbers from the '70s and '80s, before the lead ban ("Get the lead out," April 6). Condors and eagles do not get lead poisoning these days from roadkill on highways, but more from lead fishing weights that fish ingest and birds of prey eat. There are still higher concentrations of lead in most of the municipal drinking water in this country than in every condor and eagle combined. Metallurgy and alloy technology have come a long way since the '80s, and lead core bullets do not fragment but mushroom out. No animal I have or have seen harvested has ever had a fragmented bullet. Bone yes, bullet no. Alternative facts from a bucket biologist.

Justin Benson

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Mail-in confusion

Once again, Dan Brooks has articulated the situation in Helena, in this case the failure of SB 305, which would have allowed the special election on Thursday, May 25, to be conducted exclusively by mail, rather than extract thousands in taxpayer money from already strapped counties to fund an unnecessary full-fledged election ("Suppressing the vote is not a campaign tactic," March 30).

Since reading Brooks' piece, however, I've learned that all-mail-in ballots may still be alive with Gov. Bullock's Fri., April 7, action, now part of HB 83. As of this writing, I have found no info on the bill's movement.

Due to the controversy, Montanans are confused about how to vote. I'd like to share what I know:

1) No matter what happens, you can still vote by mail, which I highly recommend! 2) Registered voters who are already signed up to get absentee ballots will get them as usual. 3) Those who are registered but aren't signed up to get absentee ballots can download the form from Montana Secretary of State website and mail it in before April 25, or do it all in person at the county courthouse downtown or election center at the fairgrounds. You can ask for the absentee ballot just this once, or get on the permanent list. 4) Those who aren't registered at their current addresses can do so on the Secretary of State website or at the courthouse or fairgrounds any time up until noon on Election Day, May 25. 5) Absentee ballots allow you to vote early, but must be received by Election Day, so mail them at least three days before the election or deliver in person to courthouse or the election center at the fairgrounds on or before Election Day. 6) In-state students, check your registration address and remember to vote. 7) Out-of-state students, if you voted in Montana in the last election, you are still registered unless your address has changed. If it has, or if you aren't registered in Montana, please register at your Montana address and vote by mail before you take off for the summer. 8) People with criminal records can vote, including those currently on parole or probation. 9) The homeless can vote in Montana! A homeless shelter or church can be your address.

Gwen McKenna

Missoula

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 1:15 PM

Keep your money

"Campaigns were conducted by simply the opening of a barrel, and sowing the state from one end to the other with corporation money, the largest barrel winning in the end. This extravagant campaigning prevented the election of any but the wealthy or those supported by special interests."

That's E.H. McDowell in the February 1910 Terry Tribune.

My vote is not for sale. Rob Quist is the man I want to represent me in Congress.

Carole Mackin

posted at missoulanews.com




So, more money?

Any political seat in the United States will cost big money to buy. Name recognition is essential because the public is uninformed and just blackens the circle beside the name they have seen on TV or on billboards without knowing what the candidate thinks about a given issue.

Jan Cochran

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Go Green

Nearly everyone I know expresses Green values when they speak about what they want and need for their families and communities ("Could the special congressional election give Montana's Green Party a foot in the door?" March 30). Most people know the reason we don't get what we want is due to the influence of wealthy and corporate donors. The Green Party is the only party that does not take dollars from corporations or PACS. The Green Party works for health care for all, ranked-choice voting so we don't have to choose the lesser evil, elimination of the crushing student debt that is ruining the lives of our young people, and the Green New Deal to bring good-paying jobs to all of us who just want to be able to work and support our families without destroying the planet we'd like our grandchildren to be able to survive on. There is a way forward and it makes sense.

Cheryl Wolfe

posted at missoulanews.com




Quist for all

Voting for Rob Quist for Montana's representative in Washington is without a doubt the most important vote we are going to be able to make until 2020! ("No experience necessary," March 30). The Koch brothers cartel is pouring millions of dollars into Montana and delivering scathing negative advertising against Rob.

Greg Gianforte isn't the right guy to fight for Montana in the House. He would be just one of the boy's rubber-stamping the Republican agenda, kow-towing to Grover Norquist and his Republican puppets, all joining Trump and his gang of Kleptocrats ripping off the American taxpayers.

Rob Quist is the only guy running who respects all Montanans, and we need a fresh voice to stand up for all of us, not just a few of us!

Dennis Petrak

posted at missoulanews.com




Nobody better?

I don't mind that Quist is an "outsider," but I do have issues with him being fiscally irresponsible, particularly his lack of payment to a contractor that did work on his property. Didn't pay taxes, didn't pay his bills, stiffed workers? Sounds like a country-western version of Trump. Yeah, I'll vote for Quist to keep Greg Gianforte out of office, but as Democrats, is this really the best we can do?

Lynne Marie Duncan

posted at facebook.com/




Life & the good death

Having been a physical therapist for forty years, I have personally seen how much trauma, pain and suffering the human body can endure and overcome. The human body is incredible at recovering and healing from injury. There is a limit, however, to what the human body can endure during the dying process. My mother's death in 2014 gave me firsthand insight into how the human body shuts down. No treatment would prevent the inevitable, and she did not want to prolong the process.

My mom and I both believe that individuals should have the right to choose what course of treatment to seek if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. People have choices in their health care in all phases of life and in death. Decisions and discussions about what to do should be between the person and their faith, their family and their physician.

Two separate attempts were made this legislative session to criminalize doctors who provide prescriptions for medical aid in dying, and both failed, as did other attempts in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The majority of Montanans feel they should be able to die in accordance with their personal values and beliefs, and the government should not be involved in that choice.

Kristen Wood

Missoula




Seeding control

Senate Bill 155 is an egregious overreach by out-of-state groups to take local control from Montanans. This bill would change Montana seed laws and take power from the hands of our local officials, which is where it has been for decades, and where it should stay.

The language of SB 155 can be found in several other state Legislatures right now, all developed by a pay-to-play group funded by Monsanto, Dow and the Koch brothers. Montanans aren't about to be duped by a few billionaires. (Or are we?)

The billionaires pushing this bill are trying to centralize all of the power in areas of the government that are inaccessible to regular people and farmers like me.

Right now we are seeing more and more how hard it is to accomplish anything at the federal and state levels, but I know my local officials because they are my neighbors. I prefer to work with them on local issues, rather than with strangers who don't understand how we work out here in Olive, Montana.

So why is our Legislature taking away local control of what is grown in our communities? Power and money.

While they are trying to say that they are saving local producers from mythical groups that want to prevent you from using specific seeds, what about the other side, where the state is trying to force us all to use certain seeds that contaminate everyone else's fields?

Tell Gov. Bullock to veto SB 155.

Walter Archer

Olive

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 1:50 PM

"May be"?

Dan Brooks may be handsome, and commitment averse for all I know, and I enjoy reading his columns, but I think he doesn't realize how 20th century he reveals himself to be ("Renters asunder," March 23). Doesn't he get it that government is no longer meant to protect the people, but to ensure a profitable margin for government, and those involved in buying it, just like any other free market entity in our country? Government for the people is so yesterday.

Today, they have figured out how to privatize government and still be popular with the people whose life blood they sell out. Who knew?!

Anyway, thanks for the insightful, relevant, tongue-in-cheek remarks. Unfortunately, it takes more than a fourth-grade education to understand his meaning, so his audience may not be as large as is needed to take back our country, our state and our dignity. But please do keep up the entertaining commentary for the rest of us.

Carolyn Beecher

Ronan




Plight of the landlords

Perhaps the author should look into how utterly helpless a landlord is when having to deal with the "tenant from hell," and how complicated it has become recently for a landlord to evict someone. It may take months, all while the landlord is not receiving income from his investment. If both tenant and landlord would do the right thing, there would be no need for legislation, but, alas, someone is always getting screwed. So bring on the laws and penalties. After all, they have been earned.

Paul Middleton

posted at missoulanews.com




That escalated slowly...

Recently it was discovered that Rob Quist had tax liens filed against him by the state of Montana and it was turned into political fodder. I am not going to condemn Mr. Quist. Like many working Montanans, not everything has gone as planned in his life. Sometimes, no matter how you plan, the world just doesn't cooperate. Unexpected bills can happen at any time and expected payments usually are farther away than anticipated. Welcome to the real world, folks. This is where most working Montana families live all the time.

It also makes me think of all the people that lost everything in 2008. I spent last winter driving BNSF rail crews up and down the Hi-Line. Most of them had worked a good job before BNSF, and many lost those jobs in the recession. They had nice homes and all the things Montana families like to buy, and they lost it all in the housing collapse. These weren't people that spent their money foolishly. They expected to go to work and then one day they didn't have a job anymore, or a home soon after. These are the people that to this day have black marks on their credit scores because they didn't know the economy was going to kick them in the teeth.

Rural families have different problems with the same result. Farm and ranch families are often caught in the crosshairs of bills that they can't pay. They have such irregular income that sometimes bills have to be put on hold until a crop can be sold. Just this fall I was scrambling. My entire mustard crop was wiped out in a hail storm, and calf prices were so low I wanted to wait until January to sell, hoping maybe the market would recover, but Joyce Fuel and Feed in Fort Benton had sold me a Wheatheart post pounder on credit in a handshake deal and I intended to make good on my word and pay them off. I managed, but it was a lean Christmas for the kids.

They say most families are one paycheck away from disaster at any time. I believe that. So I'm not going to beat on Mr. Quist for something that could have happened to anyone of modest income. But what I do think separates Mr. Quist and myself is our view of fiscal responsibility. I believe we need to balance the budget and not steal from the next generation. We have to get our financial house in order so we can pay for all the programs the government provides. We are already $20 trillion in the hole, but when I looked at Mr. Quist's website, balancing the budget didn't make the top 19 issues! We don't need any more tax-and-spend politicians in Congress, and we don't need politicians that can't remember what it is like to struggle to pay a bill.

So remember, Montana, when it's time to vote, it's just like the three bears story—one bear is too far left and one bear is too far right, but one bear is just perfect for Montana. I'm that bear! Vote for Mark L. Wicks for Congress.

Mark L. Wicks

Inverness




Pipeline placement

I think we should go over rivers, instead of under rivers. Over rivers on bridges, with an inspector's walkway on both sides of the pipe. It might cost more, but it will produce more jobs. It will be safer and less invasive to water and to riverbeds. It will be more healthy. An oil pipeline broke under the frozen Yellowstone river a few years ago. It was hard to clean up under the ice. Some of the oil went into farmers' fields and ruined the grass and hay. It took a long time to clean it up. All the wildlife suffered. Oil in the ocean, oil in the creeks, oil in the rivers—we must be more careful.

Gary LeDeau

Arlee

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Feels like the first time

I was a 40-year-old first-time snowboarder, and the folks at Board of Missoula taught me the ropes ("Skate or die," March 16). I am so happy that Bacon is living this dream and so happy Board of Missoula is back!

Craig Sweet

posted at missoulanews.com




You go, daddy-o!

Chris Bacon and Edge of the World have always been a support for the young teenagers and young adults in this town, giving them a safe and secure place to hang out and skateboard. My son is the wonderful man he is today partly because of the influence of Chris Bacon. I hope and pray for your continued success, Chris.

MaryPat Harr Hertz

posted at missoulanews.com




The power of They

Sometimes I think the "living-wage" is a number that really means "just enough to survive, without any form of leisure time or vacation from work." No one making $14 an hour is taking too many vacations ("What's a living wage, really?" March 9). They can't afford it. People are forced to work through vacation time to pay bills. They have to pick and choose between food or other necessities. They can' t take a few days off work or the power gets turned off. I believe it is set up this way to keep the middle class the middle class. They make up the grandest share of taxpayers, and the government loves getting money, so the best way to keep the dough rolling in is to keep people at work. Plus, any time wages get increased, the tax departments increase the taxes and prices on everything go up. A living wage is meant to keep you alive enough to pay the government tons of money before you are too old to work or pass away. They do not care whether your existence was fulfilling or pleasurable. They just want their pedestrian bridges and convention centers.

A.J. LaBrosse

posted at missoulanews.com




Target: missed

Your support for the Second Amendment may be laudable, but this article is complete crap! ("Sure shot," March 16)

You have the nerve to say "Newman is a trained and responsible gun owner. As such, he did not shoot any bystanders while deploying deadly force"which is apparently where you set the bar for considering a gun-waving lunatic a "trained and responsible gun owner." Shortly after that you refer to his "judgment" as "impeccable," clearly demonstrating that you do not understand the meaning of one or both those words.

His actions were legal (up until the last few shots), but his judgment was incredibly flawed, and regardless of the police giving him a free pass, the video of the event clearly shows that at least his last two shots were both irresponsible and illegal. It is pure luck that he didn't "shoot any bystanders." Random wild shots into a public area with no concern for where his rounds were going is not the action of "a trained and responsible gun owner." If the police had reviewed the video, he would probably have been arrested. Certainly once the video became available he should have been charged with multiple counts of wanton endangerment.

If you consider this an example of "a trained and responsible gun owner" demonstrating "impeccable" judgment, then I have to seriously question your judgment, training, and responsibility.

Tom Currie

posted at missoulanews.com




Any more questions?

After the Independent published "A teen and a prayer" on Feb. 9., a letter to the editor demanded, "What is it about religion that drives you leftists crazy?"

Answer: Religion will cause humans to ruin the Earth.

We are the most invasive of species, and we think that the laws of nature (such as no unlimited population growth) don't apply to us. Darwin displaced humanity from the pinnacle of the organic world, but religion cannot allow that, or Heaven (and Hell) can't be sustained. Thus, the Catholic Church insists that all human life and death is solely up to God.

Pope Francis issues his encyclical to save "our ruined" planet, blaming humanity's inappropriate consumption for the Earth's woes. But the real cause is human population growth.

Half the world's human population still wants to consume its way into the middle class, yet it would take several Earths' worth of resources to support all humans living as middle class. All Pope Francis can offer is a "moral imperative" that humanity do better. Yet if "moral imperative" worked, then no priest would ever have abused a child.

People who study demographics say that to control human population, we must allow contraception and abortion. But the Church insists on viewing human failings as sin as opposed to evidence that we are animals. If we could view human sexual expression as our biological nature, then we can still teach all the reasons to be prudent about sex, while realizing that our "preaching" is going to regularly fail, and so we graciously allow people to have contraception and abortion. Or we can keep ruining the Earth.

William H. Clarke

Missoula




God's worst creation

Until I read your last edition, I did not know that God created Mountain Standard Time ("Playing God with time," March 16). Guess you're never too old to learn. I will ask HIM to forgive the creator of daylight savings time, because it irritates all of my friends who wait until dark to start bar hopping.

Peter Daniels

Polson

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 3:25 PM

KettleHouse Correction

The article titled "County to get zoning overhaul" (March 9) mischaracterized the zoning status of the KettleHouse Amphitheater. The article incorrectly asserted that the KettleHouse Amphitheater did not have the authority to operate under the current zoning regulation.

Logjam Presents, the owner of the KettleHouse Amphitheater improvements and operator of the venue, has been working closely with the Missoula County Zoning Department since November, 2016. The KettleHouse Amphitheater has presented iterations of the architectural drawings to Missoula County throughout the design process.

The zoning regulation that existed prior to March 9, 2017, allowed for the KettleHouse Amphitheater to conduct events with a limited infrastructure (as the Big Sky Brewery has done for over 10 years). Infrastructure such as permanent concession areas and permanent bathrooms were not permitted under the zoning regulation that existed prior to the passage of the March 9 zoning changes. Missoula County Zoning Department and the KettleHouse Amphitheater had reached an agreement that if the zoning changes were not passed on March 9, 2017, the KettleHouse Amphitheater could proceed with the limited infrastructure design concept. At no time was a show booked, or were tickets sold, without an understanding between Missoula County Zoning Department and the KettleHouse Amphitheater.

The KettleHouse Amphitheater postponed submitting for its final building permit in anticipation of the passage of the March 9 zoning changes. That said, the KettleHouse Amphitheater had obtained the required permits and approvals to complete its mass excavation, rough grading and other retaining wall work. The KettleHouse Amphitheater was proceeding with construction in a manner that would allow it to complete the venue with either the full infrastructure or limited infrastructure, depending on the outcome of the March 9 zoning meeting.

On March 9, the Missoula County Commissioners approved several zoning changes. These changes allow for the KettleHouse Amphitheater to proceed with the more robust design concept that includes a more permanent infrastructure. The KettleHouse Amphitheater intends to submit for a full building permit on March 13.

Overall, the KettleHouse Amphitheater has collaborated with the Missoula County Zoning Department, Missoula County Health Department, Missoula County Building Department, the Conservation District, not-for-profit organizations such as the Blackfoot Challenge and the Clark Fork Coalition, and other regulatory bodies to obtain all entitlements and support required to design, develop and construct a world class venue. We take issue with the characterization in the March 9 article that we proceeded without the required zoning to conduct shows in the new venue. While the limited infrastructure design would have been less ideal and detracted from the artist and concert goer experience, it would have been sufficient for our first year of operations. We delayed our final building plan submittal to utilize the zoning changes and have the opportunity to construct a more robust venue.

Nick Checota

Logjam Presents

Missoula




No to Gorsuch

As the co-founder of a Missoula-based technology company, Gatherboard, which licenses calendar software for communities across the West, I was disappointed to see the Montana Chamber of Commerce's recent endorsement of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Judge Neil Gorsuch's record certainly does not represent the best interests of my business. I encourage Sens. Daines and Tester to take a hard look at Gorsuch's record.

Like many small business owners, I'm wary of being forced to sign binding arbitration agreements imposed by giant companies in order to conduct business. Most Montana businesses I'm familiar with don't even use such binding arbitration agreements. However, the trend, which Gorsuch apparently supports, is toward forcing individuals to go to arbitration rather than before a court, to resolve disputes with massive corporations.

In Ragab v. Howard, entrepreneur Sami Ragab filed a lawsuit against an investment bank and capital financing company for misrepresentation and violating consumer credit repair laws that helped him obtain startup capital. The companies demanded arbitration, but there were six different and irreconcilable agreements about arbitration, and the court recognized there had never been a "meeting of the minds"a basic principle of contract law. Judge Gorsuch dissented, arguing for a "workaround" so the companies could impose arbitration on Ragab.

Much has been made of Gorsuch's employer-friendly record, but it appears that he's only for giant corporations, not regular business people and entrepreneurs. It's telling that he supported Hobby Lobby in citing the company's "sincerely held religious beliefs" as an excuse for denying women employees birth control insurance. Montanans do not believe corporations are people, and we expect our senators to support justices that don't either.

Molly Bradford

Missoula




Getting up to PACE

The Montana Legislature is considering an important bill to benefit homeowners and businesses interested in improving energy efficiency and lowering power bills. Introduced by Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby, and supported by Governor Steve Bullock, SB 330 authorizes Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and would empower local government programs that support energy efficiency, clean energy and water conservation projects. PACE is voluntary and would allow property owners to pick local contractors for improvements and pay through long-term, low interest loans linked to energy savings. Repayment would be coordinated through city or county property assessors much in the same way sidewalk and sewer upgrades are repaid over the long term. By lowering up-front and long-term expenses, PACE will save property owners money on power bills, conserve energy and water, and put local contractors to work. SB 330 authorizes the PACE program without costing the state any money, and participation is determined at the local level by city or county officials. Thirty-three states have already authorized PACE programs and more are in the process. Let's help property owners and contractors in Montana save money and create jobs—support SB 330, Montana PACE.

Tom Platt

Missoula

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 3:11 PM

KettleHouse Correction

The article titled "County to get zoning overhaul" (March 9) mischaracterized the zoning status of the KettleHouse Amphitheater. The article incorrectly asserted that the KettleHouse Amphitheater did not have the authority to operate under the current zoning regulation.

Logjam Presents, the owner of the KettleHouse Amphitheater improvements and operator of the venue, has been working closely with the Missoula County Zoning Department since November, 2016. The KettleHouse Amphitheater has presented iterations of the architectural drawings to Missoula County throughout the design process.

The zoning regulation that existed prior to March 9, 2017, allowed for the KettleHouse Amphitheater to conduct events with a limited infrastructure (as the Big Sky Brewery has done for over ten years). Infrastructure such as permanent concession areas and permanent bathrooms were not permitted under the zoning regulation that existed prior to the passage of the March 9 zoning changes. Missoula County Zoning Department and the KettleHouse Amphitheater had reached an agreement that if the zoning changes were not passed on March 9, 2017, the KettleHouse Amphitheater could proceed with the limited infrastructure design concept. At no time was a show booked, or were tickets sold, without an understanding between Missoula County Zoning Department and the KettleHouse Amphitheater.

The KettleHouse Amphitheater postponed submitting for its final building permit in anticipation of the passage of the March 9 zoning changes. That said, the KettleHouse Amphitheater had obtained the required permits and approvals to complete its mass excavation, rough grading and other retaining wall work. The KettleHouse Amphitheater was proceeding with construction in a manner that would allow it to complete the venue with either the full infrastructure or limited infrastructure, depending on the outcome of the March 9 zoning meeting.

On March 9, the Missoula County Commissioners approved several zoning changes. These changes allow for the KettleHouse Amphitheater to proceed with the more robust design concept that includes a more permanent infrastructure. The KettleHouse Amphitheater intends to submit for a full building permit on March 13. Overall, the KettleHouse Amphitheater has collaborated with the Missoula County Zoning Department, Missoula County Health Department, Missoula County Building Department, the Conservation District, not-for-profit organizations such as the Blackfoot Challenge and the Clark Fork Coalition, and other regulatory bodies to obtain all entitlements and support required to design, develop and construct a world class venue. We take issue with the characterization in the March 9 article that we proceeded without the required zoning to conduct shows in the new venue. While the limited infrastructure design would have been less ideal and detracted from the artist and concert goer experience, it would have been sufficient for our first year of operations. We delayed our final building plan submittal to utilize the zoning changes and have the opportunity to construct a more robust venue.

Nick Checota

Editor's note: Due to what turned out to be incomplete information available to us during the story’s reporting and editing, “County to get zoning overhaul” (March 9) inadvertently conveyed a misleading suggestion that the KettleHouse Amphitheater currently under construction in Bonner had yet to clear administrative and permitting hurdles necessary to the venue’s construction and the booking of acts there. That’s not the case. As Logjam Presents president Nick Checota has since clarified, Logjam—the owner and operator of the amphitheater—possesses both written and verbal confirmation from the county of Logjam’s longstanding compliance with the relevant regulations and requirements. The Independent regrets contributing to any confusion, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to correct the misimpression.

Kitchen politics

Oh please, do we have to now bring our politics into our kitchens ("Turning red state blueberry muffins," March 2)? Maybe if your muffins are so good they will transcend party lines? But it is just another case of someone desperate to use the press for their own agenda. Very unAmerican blueberry muffins. Let's make muffins that unite, not divide.

Mary Frances Caselli

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Did not see that coming

Dan Brooks asked about possible "dumbness" of Montanans regarding Steve Daines in his good soldiering on Betsy DeVos, ACA dismemberment, constituent avoidance, etc. I expect that Montanans, at least those who follow this kind of thing, and certainly Indy readers, are pretty un-dumb regarding Senator D.

However, based on what I've seen in the newspaper and on the streets, Montanans are exhibiting a high degree of dumb in regards to another quite serious issue: getting slammed/crushed/killed by folks in large metal boxes on wheels. First, there is hardly a evening/night-time drive where I don't see (barely) a person walking on a road shoulder or starting to cross a street wearing dark, non-reflective clothing. Do these numbskulls not realize they are a chalk outline waiting to happen?

And then (secondly) there is the multi-chapter (never-ending ?) story of impaired, especially DUI, driving arrests, crashes and deaths. Is this of any real concern to my fellow Montanans? If so, I've not seen any significant indicators in the print or electronic media. Perhaps it is simply that driving while drunk (or otherwise impaired) and the resultant carnage is accepted as standard operating procedure by our community. If it isn't, one might expect gatherings at their door and/or letters to their office similar to the pushback to Daines' "leadership." Is that happening? Nope.

As "he-who-shall-not-be-named" often tweets: SAD!

Eugene Schmitz

Missoula




Study the money

Montana has the most one-room schools of any state in the country. In light of this fact, how Daines could support Betsy DeVos and her charter school nonsense is beyond me ("How dumb does Steve Daines think Montanans are?" March 2). Tax dollars should go to public schools. Just a back door for the Republicans to get rid of teacher's unions.

Kathy Buchman

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Daines by a hair

Let's make sure Daines doesn't squeak by again like he did with his House seat and then the big leap to the Senate ("How dumb does Steve Daines think Montanans are?" March 2). Just lucky both times, due to Democrat mistakes and voters not paying attention. We see you now, Steve, and you better work for us or pack up.

Mari Laxmi von Hoffmann

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Sad simulacrum

Oh how magnificently sad this is ("Reality bytes: Mercantile gets a virtual resurrection through digital scanning," March 2).

Juanda Frelin

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Stay the course

Considering he did nothing in Congress, I hope he continues that trend in the Cabinet ("Ryan Zinke confirmed as Secretary of the Interior," missoulanews.com, March 1).

Pam Little

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Watch your wilderness

Watch the privatization of federal lands coming soon! ("Ryan Zinke confirmed as Secretary of the Interior," missoulanews.com, March 1.)

Dennis Petrak

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




The bright side

Now hang on folksOf all the Trump picks, Zinke might be the best ("Ryan Zinke confirmed as Secretary of the Interior," missoulanews.com, March 1).

Robert Dunlop

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Love the enthusiasm

Not quite as versatile as beer, but more than wine for sure ("Getting canned at Western Cider," March 2). And yes, I want to drink a loaf of bread with my loaf of bread!

Adam Keele

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Fat chance

Quit telling Daines and Trump what you think they should do.

I'm all for holding politicians accountable, but I think the recent protests against Daines at the capitol and at his office in Missoula were misguided. Folks need to realize that Daines and Trump are doing exactly what a majority of those who voted for them want them to do.

If you want to change the actions of elected officials you need to change the minds of the people who put them in office. People tend to think that folks on a different part of the political spectrum are all in Washington or Helena, but they're not. They live right next door to you. Protests have their place, but what you really need to do is what Obama urged in his farewell address: Go out and talk to your neighbors. Be open, engage them, learn where their views come from and let them learn about you. It's really the only way political progress will occur.

Good luck to us all.

Roy Curet

Missoula

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 3:38 PM

Boom-town blues

After I read the article regarding the Riverfront Triangle project ("On the Riverfront," Feb. 23), I wrote to the City Council, the mayor and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to shame them for once again putting profit over people. I am so tired of seeing the council and the mayor falling all over themselves to cater to developers and spend our tax dollars on projects that give developers free rein. I've never seen a developer keep promises that aren't officially required (e.g., promises to build sidewalks and community parks in residential developments). They do nothing that isn't contractually required, and even then they weasel out of commitments via indefinite delays. Yet city and county officials continue to fall for it, saying we have to trust them. Why on earth should we trust them?

Why can't we have a city commitment to supporting unions instead of empty lip service?

Missoula's problem is hardly not enough development. Our problem is high housing costs and low wages. So why do local leaders support development that does nothing to address what ought to be the overriding concern? I assume they are afraid the developer will take its ball and go home, along with the supposed jobs. If so, so be it! Missoula citizens are not desperate for more development and the handful of lousy jobs it brings, we are desperate for affordable housing and living wages. Why is that not the priority?

I assume it's too late to cancel the Riverfront Triangle project or renegotiate the terms. Over the years I have become more and more disgusted watching these developers call the shots while our elected leaders roll over. I have contacted our local labor groups to show my support for their efforts, and I will encourage my friends to do the same.

It may be too late to put the brakes on this project, but I and other Missoula citizens can still make some noise. Who's in?

Gwen McKenna

Missoula




Scraping by

This is such a joke ("On the Riverfront," Feb. 23). Missoula needs to support the people that already live here with real job opportunities, not 500 low-paying jobs that will cost Missoulians even more money in taxes. Why is the city financing mall renovations, expo centers and parking garages when the average person in Missoula can barely scrape by? It has become very evident that our mayor is only concerned about filling his own pockets and has no concern for the people of Missoula.

Rebekah Barsotti

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Watch the money flow

Released now or later ("Show us the money," Feb. 23), voters are going to be in for severe sticker shock.

Matthew Neer

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Best for last

The last paragraph is the best ("Show us the money," Feb. 23)! The mayor estimated the legal process would cost $400,000! To think that the Carlyle Group would roll over on an asset grab so easily was either completely naive, incompetent or a complete lie to coerce public support. Legal fees were off (just for the city) by a factor of at least 20!

Tony Cate

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




No privacy

Absolutely b.s. ("Show us the money," Feb. 23). It is a public entity and as such there should be nothing private!

Adam Pummill

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Following orders?

I called his office and they claim this is standard procedure that all representatives follow ("Did Ryan Zinke go AWOL?," Feb. 16). Funny, Jeff Sessions didn't quit voting!

Ian Chechet

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Money for nothing

Yet surely he's still collecting his congressional paycheck ("Did Ryan Zinke go AWOL?," Feb. 16). What has he done to earn $20,021 since Jan. 5? (Members are paid $174,000 per year.)

Emilie Ritter Saunders

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Who hates snowflakes?

He's putting together his plan to start utilizing and harvesting our natural resources, and drafting legislation to do away with frivolous lawsuits by enviro-terrorists ("Did Ryan Zinke go AWOL?," Feb. 16). The snowflakes are going to freak out after he gets confirmed!

Kris Wosepka

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent




Ignore Daines

Sen. Daines' outlandish demand that Sen. Tester immediately endorse Trump's nominee for Supreme Court justice is an insult to my intelligence. Isn't Daines the same senator who refused to give Obama's nominee even an interview for nine months? Isn't Daines part of the party that, before the November election, threatened to never seat a Clinton nominee if she won? He is. Did I hear Daines chastising his fellow Republicans for such trash talk? I did not. How does this blatant hypocrisy work? Does he think we're stupid? Or that we suffer from short-term memory loss? Sen. Tester is a patriot, not a puppet. I trust him to represent me. That means careful vetting of any nominee. There hasn't even been a hearing yet. And, thanks to Daines and his fellows, we've been without a full Supreme Court for more than 11 months. He obviously didn't think having a full court was important when the shoe was on the other foot. Daines forfeited all moral right to make any comments about Tester's decisions concerning Supreme Court justices. There is no reason for Tester to pay any attention to him. Neither should we.

Pat Tucker

Hamilton

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 3:09 PM

Left a bad taste, huh?

I love the Independent and look forward to reading it every week. I always turn first to the food column and this week was horrified and disgusted to find Andrea Grimes' Resistance Kitchen ("Whoops it's soup," Feb. 9). With a mouth like a sewer and an abysmally poor writing style Andrea proceeded to desecrate the very idea of a food column. Was she drunk when she wrote this? I don't know if this is indicative of what passes for writing in the Bay Area, but I am accustomed to a much higher caliber of prose from our local authors. Please don't carry her column again.

Pattie Fialcowitz

Dixon




One sane senator

If "Jon thinks what President Trump called Sen. Warren is offensive," and if "Jon takes the integrity of our elections very seriously," then Jon needs to speak up ("Here's what happened during Sen. Tester's luncheon with President Trump last week," missoulanews.com, Feb. 15). This is not the time for silence. We need our one sane senator to speak the f**k up!

Suzanne Siegel

posted at missoulanews.com




Worked for her

Adult and Teen Challenge changed my life ("Lawsuit opens a window on faith-based addiction treatment," Feb. 9). I learned to not be lazy. I learned to turn to Christ for strength, to be the best mother, wife and woman I can be. They have taught and given me the tools to handle any difficulty and struggle that could come my way, no matter how big it is. They have shown me that I am not alone and that I am always loved and always was loved by God, even when I was at my worst. They taught me to turn my sorrow to joy. Life is not all peaches and ice cream, but I have the skills I need to overcome the hard times. That is because a group of people didn't give up on me. They give their time willingly to help a bunch of lost, hurt, angry people. You sign up for Teen Challenge voluntarily, and if you read the information before you say yes, it tells you exactly how the program works. Sure there are flaws, but what program or even workplace doesn't have flaws? They learn from them and build a better program or business. That's just how life rolls. There are always going to be situations that you will be made aware of that you didn't know were happening, and Adult and Teen Challenge is committed to taking care of any problems that arise.

Jamie Lee Stotts Wilson

posted at missoulanews.com




Let stinking dogs lie

Trump lies and blusters constantly to guard his exquisitely thin skin. It's like your dog rolling in smelly stuff—he's been told it's bad, but he just can't help himself. Real leaders have self discipline—Tester was wise not to take the baits Trump offered to Democratic senators ("Here's what happened during Sen. Tester's luncheon with President Trump last week," missoulanews.com, Feb. 15).

The election margin debate is a clear loser for Trump, and Warren is plenty capable of defending herself from slurs. Don't jump into that stinky pile with Trump—that's his turf!

We need Sen. Tester to stay on-target with the real issues regarding Trump: forcing release of the president's taxes, uncovering the Trump campaign's connections to Russia and revealing the full extent of foreign interference in our elections. U.S. leaders, Democratic and Republican, must demand immediate, bipartisan and transparent investigations of all these issues.

Self discipline and leadership are not shown only by withholding from unwise actions. You also have to do the right thing when that thing is needed, even if it's difficult. Tester must actively lead Congress to start a real inquiry into Trump's campaign now. Just let dogs like Trump lie in their own stink.

David Morris

posted at missoulanews.com




Over the line

I've read many an article in the Independent over the years that I have found belligerently antagonistic toward the Christian community here in Missoula and at large. I have never taken offense by it because I understand that the Independent is a paper with a view that caters to the Missoula populace, which, as we know, is widely liberal and increasingly secular. After reading your article about Teen Challenge, I've decided not to hold my tongue. I have personally seen the Teen Challenge ministry change women's lives from despair and addiction to freedom and hope. Teen Challenge has given countless women the skills, attitudes, opportunity and environment that they needed to make a new start. You chose to place the focus of your article about this noble charity on one or two negative experiences someone had—someone for whom Teen Challenge was obviously not the right fit. But who are you to demean and bully the hundreds of struggling women and children for whom this was exactly the right fit? Who are you to malign another soul's search for meaning and spirituality in their lives? It isn't a "homophobic statement" by some TV personality that ruffles your feathers, it's Christianity in general. While you make conjectures about homophobia, you practice Christophobia. I'll finish with this: Christians do not fear or hate gay people. It simply plagues secular people that God calls homosexuality a sin. Christians also understand what the "Free Thinkers" at the Independent are selectively ignorant of: As far as sin is concerned we are on equal ground, and every last one of us, gay, straight and everything in between, needs Christ, and needs to be redeemed from sin. You don't have to like it, but that is who we are, and we aren't going away, nor will we evolve to be more comfortably compatible with your preferences and subjective worldview. Our faith is our identity. So go ahead, continue to practice your hypocrisy with smug self-congratulatory pseudo-moralism. It's nothing new. We've been living alongside you for 2,000 years—we know how to take it on the chin. We may not seem sophisticated to you from your ivory tower, but what you can't perceive from that is height is the peace that passeth understanding, in our lives and on our deathbeds.

Patricia Pardee

posted at missoulanews.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Posted on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Oh that card again...

Your snarky, sarcastic article ("Better dumb than sorry?" Feb. 9) only demonstrates your failure to be a well-read and informed citizen, not just of the United States but of the world.

A proactive legislative body is, in my opinion, frequently more helpful than a reactive one.

This bill might not have been necessary if Missoula hadn't decided to play the phony "we're all so caring and loving here" card so a few people could pat themselves on the back for their good deeds and wait for the resettlement money to roll in.

Linda Sauer

posted at missoulanews.com




Aquiver in our bubble

One city block in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, probably has more resident Muslims than all of Montana ("Better dumb than sorry?" Feb. 8). All those guns, and "Big Sky" is afraid of a crescent moon and stars?

Randy Bassett

posted at missoulanews.com




Free the pigs!

I am writing in regard to the University of Montana's proposed research facility using live pigs to test spinal cord injuries. I suffer with PTSD, and how dare you use my disability as an excuse to cause severe trauma to these pigs! Especially knowing that this is a completely unnecessary and outdated research method! All 202 accredited osteopathic and allopathic medical schools in the United States and Canada have terminated the use of live animals to teach medical students. This includes the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (the U.S. military medical school). In addition, 47 hospitals and colleges teach first responders crucial life-saving methods using human-based methods after abandoning outdated live animal use.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, no experiments—including those that inflict pain without relief—are outlawed. The Animal Welfare Act is the only federal law that applies to animals used for research.

Each species has a unique spinal orientation, movement kinetics and neural anatomy. Non-invasive imaging techniques such as PET, SPECT and fMRI can be used to visualize neural pathology at various timepoints after injury. In Miami, researchers are collaborating on the Human Spinal Cord Injury Model project.

You can read more about ethical research and education using non-animal testing methods at pcrm.org. You can also find grants for non-animal testing research at drhadwentrust.org.

Montanans do not want this facility, as proven by the failure of I-181, which was due, in part, to the possibility of live animals being used as test subjects. Bringing this lab to the University of Montana would take the university backward, in addition to tarnishing the image of Missoula. UM can join other universities and medical schools in rejecting outdated live animal labs and using more advanced and humane methods for research.

Jennifer Nitz

Missoula




Tick-tock

I am shocked that we still allow flaring, venting and leaking methane into our atmosphere. These practices threaten our health, waste our resources and—perhaps most concerning—accelerate the threat of climate change. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas; it heats the planet at a far faster rate than carbon dioxide.

We can no longer afford to continue releasing these lethal emissions. Especially when they are emissions that, in most cases, can be avoided. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has something they call the "Doomsday Clock" used to illustrate how close the world stands to "midnight," or doomsday. During the Cold War, the clock stood at 2 minutes to midnight. Right now? 2.5 minutes to midnight. According to these scientists, we face an existential threat the size of the nuclear-arms race: climate change.

The Bureau of Land Management responsibly created protections requiring that more oil- and gas-field emissions be captured. This agency spent years traveling our country, listening to affected people, and creating rules that took all sides into account. However, Congress and the new administration are putting these protections on their chopping block. Congress is slated to vote on the rules next week, and they are gunning to entirely eliminate those protections.

The time to take action is now. Montana's senators need to hear from you: Protect the climate, fight for the methane rules and stand up for the West.

Cindy Webber

Big Timber




You want a list?

What is it about religion that just drives you leftists crazy ("A teen and a prayer," Feb. 9)? You want your rights the way you want them, but those that don't agree with you, well that's where your "love everyone" comes to an end. You want any speech you don't agree with shut down.

Ed Kugler

posted at missoulanews.com




Has he no shame?

Twice in one day, Sen. Steve Daines disgraced Montana.

"School choice" does not help the budgets of public schools in our cities and towns, and it offers nothing whatsoever for education in our rural areas, where there will never be charter schools to offer "choice." But Daines chose to back out-of-state campaign contributions over the interests of Montanans when he voted for Betsy DeVos.

Later the same day, he played toady to authoritarian party powers, helping to muzzle open, honest debate with the party-line vote to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Her "out of bounds" testimony? Reading letters written by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King, which had been considered earlier as Senate committee testimony.

If Steve Daines and the party in power are so genuine in their adherence to Senate rules, why didn't those same rules compel them to allow Supreme Court nomination hearings last year, as provided for by the Constitution?

This is a sad day for Montana's representation in our nation's capital. Steve Daines has disgraced our state by putting wealthy campaign donors ahead of Montana's school children, and by taking part in ham-fisted authoritarian practices more at home in the Kremlin than in a 21st-century democracy.

Tod Trimble

Stevensville

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