Bitterroot Politics

You get what you vote for…

Bitterroot Politics - You get what you vote for…

Who will they blame it on now?

Well, the commissioners are in a bind now. For years they’ve been blaming lawsuit losses over subdivisions on the previous group of commissioners. The awful Democrats made such bad decisions that they led to lawsuits against the county.

Now they’ve lost one of their own that the Democrats had nothing to do with. Legacy Ranch, the massive development approved by the commission despite loads of objections, was struck down in the courts recently. The court stated the commission failed in their decision making process in several areas. Basically, they rubber-stamped the development without bothering to look at what kind of an impact it would have on the county and the environment.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that the commissioners approved a development over the span of decades. This was not a development that would be completed in the next few years. This is one that generations of Bitterroot residents would be dealing with. It’s impossible to determine the impact a development will have 20 years from now. Why would you approve it now and be in a position where you can request/demand changes to the plan as the conditions change.

The court also stated the commissioners failed the “hard look” standard in multiple ways but this shouldn’t be a real surprise. The current (and previous) commission has a tendency to not look beyond the first page or two of a report. They don’t seem all that interested in actually learning about what they’re looking at but instead just vote with their gut or how their party expects them to vote.

You get what you vote for and in this case you get a group of commissioners who are more concerned about helping their developer buddies/donors than looking out for the public good. And they can’t blame this lawsuit loss on the Democratic commissioners. This one was all theirs.

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What???

Bitterroot legislator Theresa Manzella has said some really strange things in her tenure in government. But when she stood up in the legislature to support her HB 179, she launched into a new level of wackiness. The bill seeks to prevent Humane Society workers from participating in animal seizures due to abuse or neglect.

Now, animal shelter workers already are not the ones making these decisions. They can alert law enforcement to a situation but it ultimately rests with law enforcement and the courts to decide whether to seize animals for their safety. At that point, the shelter may step in to pick up and care for the animals, but only after the courts have decided the animals need to be taken. So this bill really is senseless and a waste of time… meaning it will probably pass the House because, why not? They did just pass an admittedly unconstitutional bill from Bitterroot legislator Nancy Ballance after all…

But the truly crazy thing came from Manzella’s speech about why this bill needs to be passed. In it, she says that animal shelter workers are a terrorist threat. WHAT??? Animal shelter workers are volunteers who do what they do because they love animals, not out of some sense of jihad.

Here’s the quote:

“During the past several years special interest extremism as characterized Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front has emerged as a serious terrorist threat.

The FBI estimates that these organizations have committed at least 600 criminal acts in the United states since 1996.  resulting in damages in excess of $42 million.  Today, those people who have been convicted of their crimes, of the damages in estimation of
$42 million, they work for the Humane Society of the United States.

One in particular, his goal is the total abolition of animal agriculture. I ‘d like you to keep that in mind.”

For Manzella to demean these volunteers and call them terrorists is just shameful and the very worst of political pandering. I hope she thinks about what she says and personally apologizes to the very hard working shelter employees and volunteers in Hamilton. That shelter, the Bitter Root Humane Association, has done great work despite getting no help from the county thanks to Manzella’s political buddies on the county commission. They are hard-working and do some great things for our county. They are not terrorists. They are heroes.

A YouTube clip of the speech is below.

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Sen. Fred Thomas looking to cut food stamp access

There must be something in the water Bitterroot Republican legislators are drinking over there in Helena. They’re all looking to hurt the very people they represent.

Today’s episode of senseless legislation that hurts the poor comes to us from Sen. Fred Thomas. His SB 206 looks to cut access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps. Thomas claims he’s trying to prevent fraud and abuse, but as his colleagues in the House have proven, there’s not much verified proof that fraud and abuse is a problem in Montana.

The bill would also change the list of foods that are eligible for SNAP and requires users to get a photo ID in order to receive assistance. These are all things that make the program less effective and more difficult to participate in.

The photo ID requirement alone is a tough one in Thomas’ home county. Here in Ravalli County, there is one office for obtaining a government issued Photo ID. That office is in Stevensville. If you live in Darby and don’t have a vehicle, that means taking time out of your day, finding a ride, then spending time sitting in the office waiting your turn to get your ID.

Ravalli County, which is who Thomas is supposed to represent, has an unemployment rate higher than the state average, few jobs, even fewer well-paying jobs, and plenty of citizens needing help to get by each month. Area food banks have seen an increase in demand over the past several years. Now, Thomas appears to be pushing to increase the demand on those food banks by taking away some valuable help Bitterroot Citizens receive from their government.

This is shameful and shows how out of touch Thomas is with those he claims to represent.

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