Saturday, June 12, 2021

Letters to the editor May 29

| May 29, 2021 12:00 AM

School election turnout

Regarding Sue Corrigan’s letter May 24 thanking the voters for re-electing the incumbents, I would like to point out that only 31% of all eligible voters actually voted. I would venture a guess the majority of that 31% were either school district employees or others who benefit directly from the school board’s continual levy requests.

The results of the election were due to voter apathy rather than community support.

—Colin Johnson, Kalispell

Guns on campus

I wish to thank the Board of Regents for voting unanimously to challenge HB102 in court.

Two constitutional issues are at stake. The Montana constitution gives the Board of Regents sole authority to manage the Montana university system, which the “campus carry” portion of HB102 would supersede. And supporters of HB102 argue that the Second Amendment gives anyone the right to bear arms, therefore guns should be allowed on college campuses. One caller into a recent listening session cited this as a reason for why the Regents should not pursue judicial review.

But Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the 2008 DC vs. Heller decision, said that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and that nothing in the court’s decision “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions … or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings …” (university campuses are both).

Having spent the majority of my professional life on a college campus, and having seen firsthand my share of troubled students in my office, I believe having guns on campus is a recipe for disaster. I applaud the Regents for moving forward to challenge this law.

—Caryl Cox, Polson

Concealed carry law

I was pleased to read Lana Batt’s letter to the editor on “Questionable leadership.” Her letter echoes the thoughts of many of us. I would add HB 102, the concealed carry law.

Many of us Montanans own guns. We like to hunt, target shoot, etc. But most of us have never felt the need to carry a gun in public for our own protection. And certainly most of us have never felt we should conceal the fact that we are carrying a gun in public or that concealing a gun was a safer way of carrying a gun.

Do we really believe that the Second Amendment needed to be enhanced in Montana? Do we really believe that this law is not dangerous on many levels? Do most of us really like to be in public with others who are carrying concealed guns? Do we really think that this law makes the job of law enforcement easier or safer and not more dangerous?

As a citizen I would like to see the data that necessitated the passing of this law. Why do we equate freedom with the ability to give everyone the right to carry a gun? I thought those days went out with Wyatt Earp.

—Marcia Peck, Bigfork

Safe route for Buffalo Hill

While I have been critical of the Kalispell City Council, they deserve a pat on the back for moving forward an issue that has been stalled too long.

The draft city budget puts a badly needed focus on creating a safe route up Buffalo Hill, along U.S. 93 where it is called Sunset Boulevard. Decades ago when the City Council OK’d retail development and recreational fields north of town, officials assured residents there would certainly be a safe path up the hill. Sadly, the development occurred but the promise for the connecting trail system went unfulfilled.

It saddens and worries me each time I drive up the hill to see kids, people with disabilities, and bicyclists forced to walk in the gutter along the Buffalo Hills Golf Course, especially when weather is bad and traffic is heavy. It puts people in danger and effectively splits our city in half.

While most of us take cars for granted, many people either cannot drive or don’t want to. We all benefit from having healthy, safe walking and bicycle routes between work, playfields, home and shopping.

The topography of Buffalo Hill and the land ownership patterns mean that correcting this problem will not be simple. In its current budget the Kalispell City Council has included funding for an engineering study to find a solution. I thank the City Council for this investment. It’s an important first step.

I encourage the City Council, city staff and engineers to think creatively and expansively about how to best correct this problem. If the Egyptians could build the pyramids 4,000 years ago, certainly we can apply our modern technology and community spirit to fix this problem.

—Ben Long, Kalispell