Council members who have stalled boundary line adjustment requests recently got an early taste of the fruits of their labors. On Aug. 9, Professional Consultants, Inc., (PCI) withdrew a client’s application for a boundary line relocation. If approved, the request would have created two 60-foot by 65-foot lots out of two 30-foot by 130-foot lots. But under the circumstances, why bother even asking? In an e-mail explaining his clients’ decision to withdraw, PCI’s Dick Ainsworth wrote that the obvious result would have been either a denial from Council or, because of the emergency ordinance, a prohibition against building on the reconfigured lots. Reads part of Ainsworth’s e-mail: “The unfortunate thing is that my clients can, and will now have to, build on the two existing…lots…which will result in two long narrow homes that will look like trailers with garages. Were they able to build on the proposed…lots…the results would have been two more architecturally pleasing homes that would fit on the lots much better, and provide much more usable yard space for the future residents.” Mayor Mike Kadas forwarded the e-mail to Council members Tuesday. His note to them included the following: “The reason that I think you ought to be aware of it is that it indicates the kinds of choices that even responsible local builders are being forced to take because of your actions.”
Ward 4’s Myrt Charney wonders whether the request was withdrawn simply to “embarrass us in the [Roe] suit.” (The Roe suit over 636 Evans is pending.) In the meantime, City Council—displeased with its own legal counsel interpreting the law in a disagreeable manner—has formed a committee to look for a new attorney who agrees with its majority. “We need to find a counsel that feels our position is defensible,” says Ward 5’s Bob Lovegrove.
That should be easy. Lawyers will agree with anything you tell them if the price is right. Right?
Last week, we told you about the cancellation of a reading, originally scheduled for Aug. 20 at the Saddest Pleasure Used Book Store in Whitefish’s downtown Montana Coffee Traders, by Missoula writer Susan Morgan. We wondered if Morgan’s debut novel Confluence: Love and Adventure in the American West, which weaves the tale of a married woman embarking on an affair with a fellow hiker in a national park, was “too hot for Whitefish,” or at least for Saddest Pleasure.
The answer is yes, according to Hannah Plum, owner of the bookshop.
“What we try to promote is an environment that families feel comfortable in,” Plum says, a credo illustrated in the affiliated Montana Coffee Traders’ “no nude art” policy as well as the rescinding of Morgan’s reading.
“The quote you put in the paper [“my loins were begging me to open myself to his love”] was pretty temperate compared to the other scenes,” says Plum, who offered some juicy supporting evidence.
Plum acknowledges that Morgan offered to read more subdued parts of the book, but Plum says that hosting a reading is akin to endorsing a book, and she didn’t want customers thinking the book was rated PG and then finding the racier stuff on their own at home.
“If she read [a tamer] chapter, people wouldn’t know what they’re getting,” Plum says. “I’m not a believer in censorship, but I also want to have a bookstore that promotes reading in an environment that families can feel comfortable in.”
So why agree to the reading in the first place?
Plum admits she made a mistake: She hadn’t read the book prior to scheduling Morgan, she says, and Morgan had a winning pitch.
“A Missoula writer writing about the West sounded good,” Plum says. “And when she associated it with Rick Bass and Terry Tempest Williams, I was even more excited.”
Taking notes, young writers?